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´╗┐Title: In New Granada - Heroes and Patriots
Author: Kingston, William Henry Giles, 1814-1880
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "In New Granada - Heroes and Patriots" ***

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In New Granada, Heroes and Patriots, by W.H.G. Kingston.


A story about some English people who were caught up in the wars of
independence from Spain of a small South American country.  We are shown
life on the side of the Patriots fighting against the cruel rule of the
Spaniards.  Our friends have for various reasons to travel from one end
of the country to the other, with various fights with the Spanish on the

There are numerous illustrations, but we are at first at least putting a
version without these onto the website.  We very much hope that we will
find the opportunity of adding the pictures.

Well written, as always from this author, you will find this book very





The circumstances which led my father, Dr Andrew Sinclair, to settle in
New Granada--the land of my birth--are of so romantic a character, that
I cannot better preface an account of my own adventures in that country
than by narrating them.

My grandfather, Duncan Sinclair, after whom I was named, was a member of
an old Covenanter family in Dumfriesshire, and was the parent of six
sons,--all of whom, with the exception of the eldest, who inherited the
estate, had to seek their fortune in the world.  My father was his
fourth son.  Having gone through a medical course at the University of
Edinburgh, where he gained not only a knowledge of his profession, but
of science generally, he entered the Royal Navy as an assistant-surgeon,
and was ultimately promoted to the rank of surgeon.  Among his many
other talents, he possessed that of acquiring foreign languages, and he
spoke French and Spanish remarkably well; though at the time he learned
the latter--from a wounded Spanish prisoner, whose life was saved by his
skill--he little thought how useful it would prove to him.  After
visiting many parts of the world, adding greatly to his store of
information, he was appointed to the _Zebra_ sloop-of-war of eighteen
guns, which soon after sailed for the Pacific.

Among the youngsters on board was a midshipman named Richard Duffield,--
generally known, however, as Dicky Duff.  He was the orphan son of an
old messmate, who had been killed in action.  The brave lieutenant's
last thoughts, as he lay mortally wounded in the cockpit, the guns still
thundering overhead, were about his son.

"The boy's mother is dead, and when I am gone he'll not have a friend in
the world.  Doctor, will you look after him?  I know you will!"

"Don't let any doubt about that trouble you.  I'll act a father's part
towards your boy as well as I am able," was the answer.

My father faithfully fulfilled his promise; and when the boy was old
enough, he got him placed on the quarter-deck, and generally managed to
take him to sea with himself.  Richard Duffield was grateful for the
kindness shown him, and became much attached to his protector, with whom
he had many tastes in common.

My father, whenever he had an opportunity, was in the habit of going on
shore with his gun, to obtain specimens of the birds and beasts of the
country; while he also frequently brought off a bag of game for the
benefit of the commander and his own messmates.  On such occasions he
was generally accompanied by Dicky Duff, who had become as good a
sportsman as himself.

On one occasion, when the _Zebra_ was off the coast of Guatemala in
Central America, my father, having obtained a boat from the commander,
left the ship, taking with him Dicky Duff, and their constant attendant,
Paul Lobo, an African seaman, and a crew of six men.  No inhabitants
appearing, the boat was hauled up on the beach, and the crew amused
themselves at leap-frog and other games, while my father and his two
attendants proceeded some way inland.  Having had very good sport, and
filled their bags, my father sent back the midshipman and Paul to the
boat with the game, while he continued shooting, hoping to obtain some
more birds.

He had been thus employed for some time, and was thinking of returning,
when the sound of several shots reached his ears.  These were followed
by a regular volley, and he had too much reason to fear that the
inhabitants had attacked the boat.  Instead, therefore, of returning to
her, he made his way directly towards the shore.  Emerging from the
forest, which reached almost to the water's edge, he saw the boat at
some distance off, with a party of men on the beach firing at her.  His
hope was that Dicky and Paul had already got on board before the boat
shoved off.  The distance was considerable, but still he hoped to be
able to swim to her; so, leaving his gun and ammunition, with the game
he had shot, under a tree, he plunged into the water.  He had got some
distance from the shore when he found that he was discovered, by seeing
a shot strike the water not far from him.  On looking round, what was
his dismay to perceive Dicky and Paul in the hands of the Spaniards!  He
could not desert them, and consequently he at once turned and swam back,
hoping that by explaining their object in visiting the shore he might
obtain their release.  But no sooner did he land than the Spaniards
rushed down and seized him.  In vain he expostulated.  "He and his
companions belonged to a ship of war, and they wished to be able to
boast that they had made three prisoners."  They told him, however, that
if he would make signals to the boat to return, they would give him and
his younger companions their liberty.  On his refusing to act so
treacherously, they became very angry, and bound his hands behind him,
as well as those of Dicky and Paul.  The seamen at once pulled back to
the ship, when the captain sent a flag of truce on shore to try and
recover his surgeon and midshipman; but the Spaniards refused to give
them up.

After being kept prisoners for some time, they were sent down to Panama.
Here, though strictly guarded, they were not ill-treated; and when it
became known that my father was a surgeon, many persons, of all ranks,
applied to him for advice.  He was thus the means of effecting several
cures, by which he obtained numerous friends.  Indeed, he might here
have established a good practice, and have comfortably supported himself
and his companions; but he was anxious, for Dicky's sake especially, to
return with him to the ship.  There was no place, however, nearer than
Cartagena, at which it was customary to exchange prisoners; and how to
get to it, was the difficulty.

He had been kept a prisoner for some months, when, passing through the
streets, he met his old acquaintance, Don Tomaso Serrano, from whom,
while Don Tomaso was a prisoner on board his ship, he had learned
Spanish.  They immediately recognised each other, and expressed their
pleasure at meeting.  Don Tomaso, on hearing what had befallen my
father, told him that he was in command of a man-of-war schooner, and
was about to proceed in her to the southward.  "Although I cannot obtain
your liberty," he said, "I have sufficient influence to get leave for
you and your companions to come on board my vessel and proceed with me
as far as Guayaquil.  I have friends there, whom I hope to interest in
your favour; and by their influence you will, I hope, be able to obtain
permission to land and travel across the country to Honda, from whence
you can make your way down the river to Cartagena.  It is a round-about
route, but it may prove the shortest in the end.  You will have an
opportunity, too, of seeing a beautiful region; and you cannot fail, I
am sure, to be hospitably treated wherever you go."

My father at once closed with Don Tomaso's offer, and was allowed to go
on board the schooner, accompanied by Dicky and Paul.  Having obtained a
considerable sum of money, he was able to dress both of them, as well as
himself, in Spanish costume, so that they did not attract attention; and
as both he and Paul spoke Spanish perfectly, they were generally taken
for natives.  Though still prisoners, the party were treated with the
greatest kindness, and enjoyed as much liberty as they could desire.

Heavy weather coming on, the schooner ran into the port of Buenaventura.
Beyond the bay, opening into it, is a lagoon of considerable extent.
On one side is the town, a great part of which is built on piles at the
water's edge.  The place has but little to recommend it; indeed, there
are scarcely a dozen houses of any size, while the rest of the buildings
have a miserable appearance both without and within.  Above the town
stands the church,--a building of no architectural pretensions, and
greatly resembling a barn.  Buenaventura is the port of a considerable
district, embracing the valley of the Cauca.  The climate, however,
owing to the constant damp and heat, which produce intermittent fevers,
prevents foreigners from residing here; indeed, it rains nearly every
day in the year.

Most of my father's time on shore was occupied in visiting persons
suffering from ague, and in prescribing for them.  What a blessing,
indeed, can a clever medical man prove in such regions!  He is like a
heaven-sent messenger carrying relief to the sick and suffering.

The weather moderating, the schooner continued her voyage, and at length
reached Guayaquil, the port of Quito, to the south of which it is
situated, at the head of the Gulf of Guayaquil.  Here Don Tomaso proved
as good as his word, and obtained leave from the governor for my father
to travel with his attendants through the country.

While on shore at Guayaquil, he heard that in the region of the little
town of Loja, three days' journey off, grew in the greatest profusion
the cinchona, or Peruvian bark tree, at that time but comparatively
little known in Europe.  Although my father was well acquainted with the
beneficial effect produced by the bark in cases of intermittent fever,
he was anxious to ascertain, by personal examination, the other
peculiarities of the tree.  He obtained leave, therefore, from the
governor, to proceed in the first instance to Loja.  That place he
reached without difficulty.  On his arrival in the town, he found that a
Spanish doctor was residing there for the same object, but that he was
now laid up by a severe attack of illness, unable to continue his
researches.  My father immediately called on him, and found that he was
no other than Doctor Cazalla, a physician widely celebrated for his
scientific knowledge and talents.  Introducing himself as a medical man,
my father offered to prescribe for his brother physician, and in a short
time had the satisfaction of restoring him to health.  The two doctors
then set out together on an expedition of botanical research, in which
both Dicky and Paul accompanied them.

The time thus spent together having resulted in the establishment of a
warm friendship between my father and the Spanish doctor, the latter
prevailed upon him to visit Popayan, his native place, on the way to
Cartagena.  Their journey over that mountain region amid which
Chimborazo towers to the sky, was interesting in the extreme.  I have
often heard my father speak of it.  Popayan was at length safely
reached, with the botanical treasures they had collected; and here my
father was induced to remain for some time, in order to assist his
friend in their arrangement.  Before their labours came to an end, my
father and Dicky were taken seriously ill.  It now became the turn of
the Spanish doctor to attend to them.  He, however, was aided in his
task by two ladies,--his sister and a young niece; the latter taking
Dicky under her special charge.  The result was that my father married
the doctor's sister, and Dicky fell desperately in love with his niece.
The war with Spain was by this time over, and the _Zebra_ had returned
to England, so my father and his young charge, believing that they had
little prospect of getting on in the navy, determined to remain where
they were.  As Doctor Cazalla was engrossed in scientific pursuits, he
gladly yielded up his practice to my father, his brother-in-law, whose
fame as a physician was soon established in the town and throughout the
surrounding district.

Richard Duffield, for I ought now to give him his proper name, in the
course of a few years married Dona Maria, the girl who had so
affectionately tended him, and who proved to be the heiress to a nice
estate in the neighbourhood, to the improvement of which, when he became
the proprietor, Richard devoted his time and attention; while Paul Lobo
remained with my father as his personal attendant and general factotum.



"Holloa! mio amigo Senor Duncan, come down!  I want to have a talk with
you.  You can spare a few minutes from your books."

Leaving the table at which I was seated with my brother Hugh and our
tutor, Mr Michael Laffan, I went to the window, which looked out into
the court of our house at Popayan, when I saw that the person who had
hailed me was our friend Don Juan de Leon.  He had just ridden in,
mounted on a fine black horse, his special pride; and as he gracefully
sat his steed, he looked a remarkably handsome young fellow.  His
costume, too,--a broad-brimmed sombrero, a feather secured to it by a
jewelled buckle, a richly-trimmed poncho or capote over his shoulders,
broad leggings, ornamented with braiding and tags, and large silver
spurs,--became him well.

"Come down, Duncan, I want to speak to you," he said, beckoning to me.

Having obtained permission, I descended to the courtyard with a hop,
skip, and jump.  After shaking hands, I begged him to come in, as I was
sure the ladies of my family would be glad to see him.

"I have no time now," he answered; "I hope to pay my respects

"What have you to say to me?"  I asked.

"I want you to come with me to visit your friends Don Ricardo and Dona
Maria at Egido.  You can easily obtain a holiday from Senor Miguel.  As
the ride is a long one, I shall be glad of your companionship.  You will
have no objection either, I am sure, to enjoying the bright smiles of
your sweet little cousin, Dona Rosa, their daughter."

Don Ricardo, I should explain, was our old friend Richard Duffield; and
Senor Miguel was Mr Michael Laffan, our tutor.

"She is not my cousin, though we are both half British, and our fathers
are old friends.  But confess, Juan, that you have another object in
going to Egido.  You will have no objection either to pay a visit on
your way to Dona Dolores Monteverde, and to bask in her sweet smiles," I
rejoined, repeating his words.  "However, as Mr Laffan would say,
`Amicus certus in re incerta, cerniter' (A true friend is discovered in
a doubtful matter), I shall be very glad to accompany you, and be of any
service in my power, if I can obtain leave."

"Thank you, Duncan.  Go then and obtain leave, although I thought you
were old enough to act as you might think fit in a matter of this sort,"
said Juan.  "I have a little commission to perform at the other end of
the town, and will shortly return for you.  You are sure to obtain
leave, so I can depend upon having your company."

Lighting a cigarillo, he rode off down the street.  My father was out,
so I went to my mother in order to have her sanction, in case Mr Laffan
should prove obdurate.  Juan was a favourite of hers, as well as of
everybody who knew him, so when I told her of his request she made no

"Then I'll tell Mr Laffan that I have your leave," I observed.

"And that you have mine too," exclaimed my young sister Flora; "for I
want you to carry a packet to Rosa, and a note with my love, and tell
her she must come here soon and stay with us."

While I ordered my horse, and put on my riding costume, Flora wrote and
sealed her note, which I promised faithfully to deliver with the packet
she entrusted to my care.  On going to Mr Laffan to beg that he would
excuse me from my studies for a few hours, he exclaimed, looking out of
the window--

"It's a mighty fine day.  Hugh and I will be ready to take a ride with
you.  I can instruct him in orthography, geography, botany, and the
natural sciences, as we go along."

Hugh was delighted to go, and undertook duly to receive all the
instruction our worthy tutor could impart to him on the way.  Though my
brother was still very young, he was a capital horseman, and would make
nothing of riding a dozen leagues or more in a day.  I was in doubt,
however, whether Juan would be particularly pleased to have Mr Laffan's
company; but such an idea never occurred to our good tutor, who was not
inconveniently troubled with bashfulness.  I knew, however, that he
would be welcomed at the house of Don Ricardo, who esteemed him for his
many sterling qualities.

Hugh and Mr Laffan were ready almost as soon as I was, and when Juan
returned we were all three mounted in the courtyard, prepared to
accompany him.

"I did not know that you were coming, Mr Laffan," he said, lifting his
hat and bowing politely; "but it will afford me great pleasure to have
your society."

Our tutor replied in wonderfully curious Spanish, into which he could
not help occasionally introducing a few Irishisms, for the purpose, as
he used to say, of adding pepper to his remarks.

Without delay we set off, Juan and I riding together, Mr Laffan and
Hugh following; and I saw by our tutor's gestures, after we got clear of
the town, that, faithful to his promise, he was imparting information in
his usual impressive manner, which Hugh was endeavouring with all his
might to take in.

While we ride along, I will describe the region and the city in which I
was born, and some of the principal events which had occurred since my
father settled there, up to the present time.

In the western half of New Granada are three ranges of lofty mountains,
into which the main branch of the Andes is divided, extending from Quito
northwards to the Caribbean Sea; a fourth branch, running close to the
shores of the Pacific, extends towards the Isthmus of Panama.  These
four ranges form three valleys, elevated, however, a considerable
distance above the sea.  Throughout that to the east runs the
magnificent river Magdalena; the next is watered by the Cauca, of equal
length; and the third valley by the Atrato, of less extent, which runs
into the Gulf of Darien.  At the head of the centre valley--that of the
Cauca--is situated Popayan, the capital of the province of the same
name, in the midst of a beautiful plain, almost surrounded by two
streams, which finish their course about a league below it, when they
fall into the fine river Cauca.  This river then runs to the northward
through the rich and charming valley of the Cauca.  Nothing can be more
delicious than the climate of this region, the inhabitants being never
oppressed by excessive heat, or annoyed by extreme cold.  Rain, however,
falls during the last three months of the year, and also in April and
May; but even at that period the mornings are fine, as the showers
seldom come on until two or three o'clock in the afternoon, and continue
during the night.  The plain, or I may call it the wide valley of
Popayan, lies between two ranges of lofty mountains.  On one side are
the Cordilleras, with Purace, eternally covered with snow, rising above
them; and on the west side is another range, which separates the valley
from the province of Buenaventura.  In the midst, surrounded by trees,
appears Popayan, with its numerous churches and large convents,
distinguished at a considerable distance by their whiteness.  It is one
of the most ancient towns in that part of the continent.  Its founders,
companions of Sebastian Belalcazar, made it the capital of the province,
establishing a bishopric, a college, and numerous religious
institutions.  Although its buildings might not be greatly admired in
Europe, the inhabitants are proud of them; and justly so, when the
difficulties under which they were erected are remembered.  Every
article used in their construction had to be brought either on the backs
of men or mules; and there were few native craftsmen capable of
performing the necessary work.  Many families proud of their ancient
descent were settled in the town, and its society was therefore superior
to that of any of the surrounding places.  In Popayan is a large square,
of which I shall have to speak by-and-by, with the cathedral on one
side, and the residences of some of the principal people in the town
occupying the other sides.  There were, besides, several churches, four
convents, and two nunneries.  To the north of the city, towards the
Cauca, is the handsomest bridge in that part of the country.  From the
town, in the early part of the morning, when the sun shines on them, can
be seen the Cordilleras of Chicquio, and at a less distance rises the
Paramos of Puxana and Soltana, presenting a magnificent appearance.

This description may give a faint idea of the beautiful scenery amid
which I was born.  Although I was accustomed to it from my earliest
days, I nevertheless admired it more and more as I grew older.  Though
my father and Richard Duffield had not intended to settle in America
when they married, their wives, who were attached to the country,
exerted all their influence to induce them to stay, so they finally made
up their minds to abandon their native land.  The doctor, having been so
long a prisoner, was supposed to be dead, and he had no difficulty in
retiring from the service; while the midshipman very easily discharged

At the time I speak of, Liberal principles had been making rapid
progress in the country among persons of all ranks.  For years the
colony had groaned under the tyranny and narrow-minded policy of the
mother country.  As she produced wine, oil, and silk, the inhabitants of
New Granada and Venezuela were not allowed to cultivate either the vine,
the olive, or the mulberry, under the idea that they would thus be
compelled to consume the produce of Spain.  Attempts were made from time
to time to establish manufactories, which were invariably destroyed by
the orders of the Spanish Government.  At length, when Spain herself
became enslaved by the French, the colonists took the opportunity of
throwing off the galling yoke, and New Granada and Venezuela declared
their independence.  The Spanish standard was cut down and destroyed,
while the tricoloured flag was hoisted in numerous towns and fortresses.
The inhabitants of the two vice-royalties flew to arms, and, under the
leadership of General Miranda, the Royalists were defeated in Venezuela.
No sooner, however, had Spain been liberated by the success of the
British arms over Napoleon's generals in the Peninsula, than she made
use of her recovered liberty again to enthral the hapless colonists.
Simon Bolivar, who had hitherto taken no active part in the revolution,
was at length won over to espouse the cause of Freedom; and a congress
having been assembled at Caracas to organise a new Government for the
state of Venezuela, he proceeded to England for the purpose of
endeavouring to induce the British Cabinet to aid the cause of Liberty.
Finding, however, that the English had resolved on maintaining a strict
neutrality, though they had ample excuses for interfering in the cause
of humanity, he returned in disgust to Caracas.

Sometimes success attended the Patriot arms, sometimes the Royalists
were victorious.  At length a dreadful earthquake occurred.  I remember
it well.  Fear was inspired by the terrible destruction it caused to
life and property.  In the three cities of Caracas, La Guayra, and
Merida, twenty thousand persons perished.  The priests, monks, and
friars, who in general were the main supporters of Spanish tyranny,
knowing that with the advancement of Liberal principles their power
would be decreased, if not overthrown, declared this catastrophe to be a
judgment on the revolutionists.  About twelve hundred of the Royalist
prisoners who were confined in the fortress of Puerto Cabello, of which
Bolivar was then commandant, having broken loose, murdered some of the
garrison, and by the treachery of the officer on guard took possession
of the citadel.  Bolivar, with a band of followers, narrowly escaped
destruction; and General Miranda, who was at Vittoria, on hearing that
this important place, with all its stores, arms, and ammunition, was
deserted, capitulated in despair to Monteverde, the Royalist general;
and being sent in irons to Spain, he there died--shortly afterwards--in
a dungeon.

The whole country was now once more entirely in the hands of the
Royalists, who inflicted the most fearful cruelties on the hapless
inhabitants.  On pretexts the most trivial, old men, women, and children
were arrested, their houses plundered, and they themselves maimed in the
most horrible way, or massacred as rebels.

I have been speaking chiefly of Venezuela.  The Liberals in New Granada
suffered similar reverses; but, in consequence of the inaccessible
nature of many parts of the country, the Patriots, although defeated,
were able to take refuge in positions from which they could not be
driven by the Spaniards; and many, under various leaders, remained in
arms, prepared for the moment when they might again attack the Royalists
with a prospect of success, and drive them, as they had vowed to do,
from the country.

The bloodthirsty monster, General Murillo, had at this time his
headquarters at Santa Fe de Bogota, the capital of New Granada.  Our own
city of Popayan had not altogether escaped, but it was at present
comparatively tranquil, though people lived in dread of what a day might
bring forth.  Murillo was attempting to stamp out Liberal principles by
the destruction of every man of science and education in the country,
being well aware that ignorance and superstition were the strongest
supporters of Spanish tyranny.  My father, as a medical man and an
English subject, hoped to escape annoyance; though our uncle, Dr
Cazalla, owing to his known Liberal principles and scientific
attainments, was well aware that his position was critical in the
extreme.  Though on his guard, he was too bold to fly.  My father often
urged him to leave the country, but his reply was, "I will remain, to
forward, by every means in my power, the cause of liberty, and endeavour
to advance the true liberties of the people among whom I live."  My
father steadily pursued his professional duties, attending equally on
the Royalists and Liberals, by both of whom he was highly esteemed,--
though those who knew him best were well aware that his sympathies were
all on the side of Freedom.

However, my object is not so much to describe the political events which
occurred in the country, as to narrate my own adventures, and those of
my relatives and friends.  My father had often intended to send my
brother and me to England for our education; but my mother was unwilling
to part with us, and suggested, instead, that an English tutor should be
procured, who would give us the instruction we required.  My father
remarked that it was not only the knowledge we should obtain by going to
England which would prove of value, but the training and general
education we should receive at an English school.  He had made up his
mind to act as he thought best, notwithstanding our mother's objections,
when he was called in to visit an English traveller who had lately
arrived at Popayan, accompanied by a secretary--Mr Laffan--for whom he
seemed to entertain a warm regard.  His malady increased, and my father
soon saw that his hours were numbered, and told him so.  The dying man
acknowledged that his funds were nearly exhausted; that he was waiting
remittances from England, but that it might be long before they arrived,
if they ever came at all; and he was greatly concerned as to what would
become of his attendant, who would thus be left in a foreign country
without the means of leaving it, or of obtaining support.  My father had
not been favourably impressed by the appearance of Mr Laffan, who was
tall and gaunt, with awkward manners and ungainly figure; but after some
conversation he found him to be a man of considerable attainments and
intelligence, and apparently thoroughly honest and trustworthy.

On the death of the unfortunate gentleman, my father found his companion
plunged in the deepest grief.

"He was my best friend, sir, the truest I ever had in the world; and now
he's gone and left me all alone among savages, or little better, by the
way they murder each other; and we may call them heathens, too, when we
see them bow down to stocks and stones."

My father, feeling for the poor man, inquired whether he would be
willing to act as tutor to two boys.  On receiving this proposal, Mr
Laffan started up and pressed my father's hand, and while the tears ran
down his cheeks, assured him that he would gladly devote his life and
energies to the task, hoping that my father would have no cause to
regret having entrusted us to his charge.

Having seen his former patron placed in the grave, Mr Laffan took up
his abode in our house, and well and faithfully fulfilled the duties he
had undertaken--although, it must be confessed, in a somewhat curious
fashion--and we soon became as much attached to him, I believe, as he
was to us.  He gave us not only mental, but physical training; for, in
spite of his gaunt figure, he was a first-rate horseman, and thoroughly
understood the sword-exercise, a practical knowledge of which he
imparted to us.  He was a good shot and a keen sportsman; and although
he seldom spoke of himself, he had, I discovered, seen a good deal of
service, and had honourable wounds to show.  He was a devoted Liberal,
and detested tyranny in every shape and form.  As may be supposed, we
admired his principles, which, indeed, were those of our father and
uncle, and all the members of our mother's family.

As I have said, Juan and I rode on, while Mr Laffan and Hugh followed
close behind us.  Our road lay between lanes bordered by hedges of the
prickly pear, and gardens filled with fruit trees of every description;
while before us rose the Cordilleras, adding much to the beauty of the
scenery.  Before we had ridden far, Don Juan confessed to me that,
besides paying a promised visit to my friends, his object was to see
Dona Dolores.

"She is beautiful and good, and full of sense and spirit, so unlike the
greater number of my countrywomen," he exclaimed; "I believe there is
nothing that she would not dare and do."

"I quite believe all you say of her, Juan," I answered; though I confess
I did not admire the young lady quite as much as my friend did.
According to my taste, her manner was somewhat too determined and
forward--shall I call it?--although I could not exactly say that she was
masculine in her appearance, or wanting in feminine attractions; and I
had no doubt that she could be soft and tender on occasion.

"But does Dona Dolores return your love?"  I asked.

"I hope so; I have no reason to believe that she dislikes me," he
answered, "though I own that she treats me sometimes as if I were a mere
boy.  But perseverance conquers all difficulties.  My great desire is to
convince her of the sincerity of my affection, and that I am worthy of
her love."

"I should think that she would soon be convinced of that," I observed,
looking up at Juan, of whom I thought a great deal; he was a man, I
fancied, to whom any girl would willingly give her heart.

"I have determined to visit her to-day, after paying my respects to Don
Ricardo and Dona Maria, and to learn my fate.  Will you accompany me,
Duncan?  I dare say that, if I give you a sign, you will find an excuse
for leaving us together while I plead my cause."

I, of course, said that I was perfectly ready to do as Juan wished,
although I did not think my presence would be necessary.

We had got more than half-way to Egido, when we overtook a large party
of Indians returning from Popayan to their own village.  At their head
marched one of their number playing the tabor and pipes, to which they
kept admirable time.  The men were a remarkably fine-looking set of
fellows; and the women were handsome, with good figures.  The former,
who carried long lances, wore kilts, and on their heads blue cloth caps
trimmed with scarlet, ornamented with gold lace somewhat the worse for
wear.  Their bearing, also, was bold and independent.  They saluted Don
Juan in a familiar way, and he laughed and joked with them as we passed

"These men would make good soldiers, if they could be got to join the
Liberal cause," observed Mr Laffan.

"But you'll not get them while they live under the influence of their
priests," answered Juan.  "The friars try to persuade the people that
the Liberals are in league with Satan, and that if they join them they
will do so at the peril of their souls.  They eyed you three very
suspiciously," he continued; "for the friars tell them that all
Englishmen have tails, like monkeys, and horns on their heads, and that
they are addicted to eating babies when they can get a supply."

"You should try and disabuse them of such notions, Don Juan," said Mr

"I!--it is no business of mine.  I let the people think as they like--it
does no harm."

"It always does harm to allow people to believe a falsehood, and we
should oppose it with truth," observed Mr Laffan.

Don Juan laughed, and commenced trolling forth a jovial song as we rode
along, as if he did not like to be lectured by our tutor.

On arriving at the hacienda, we found that Don Ricardo was out; but Dona
Maria received us very kindly, and servants immediately came forward to
take charge of our horses.  My little cousin Rosa, as we always called
her, received me with smiles as I delivered Flora's package, and gave
her the message she had sent.  She was a beautiful blue-eyed girl, with
a rich colour, inheriting the naturally fair complexion of her father,
with her mother's beauty; for Dona Maria was one of the prettiest of the
young people in that part of the country--still looking almost like a
girl.  Without inquiring whether we would have them, she immediately
ordered the usual refreshments, wine, cake, and fruit, with some cups of
coffee, to be placed on the table; to which, after our ride, we did
ample justice.  Mr Laffan complimented Dona Maria on the fruits
produced on the estate.  Indeed, when I afterwards left my native
valley, I learned to appreciate them, by comparison with the productions
of other regions.  Nothing, indeed, can surpass the flavour of the
chirimoya, a fruit sometimes double the size of a cocoa-nut, tasting
like a mixture of strawberries, cream, and sugar, with a fragrance far
superior to any mixture.  Then the caymato (in shape like a lemon, but
far sweeter, with scarcely a touch of the acidity of the lemon), a
species of lime, and the pomegranates, oranges, and strawberries, one of
which was a mouthful, and figs unsurpassed in any other country.  Then
there was the mamei, a fruit as large as a water-melon, very nice,
fresh, and not to be despised when preserved.  Then there were several
sorts of pine apples, and a variety of melons.  Indeed, the climate of
this region is especially favourable to the production of fruit, as the
thermometer seldom falls below 68 degrees, and never rises much above 76
degrees.  Then the wine and the lemonade were delightfully cooled by
ice; an ample supply of snow being constantly brought down from the
mountain of Purace, distant little more than a day's journey.

In a short time Don Ricardo came in, and welcomed us in a hearty,
sailor-like fashion.  He still retained his nautical manners and
appearance, as well as his seamanlike habits.  He was broad-shouldered,
of moderate height, with a fine brow and an open countenance, and the
light blue eye of the Anglo-Saxon.  We always called him Uncle Richard,
and he treated us as his nephews.

"You'll stop, now you have come," he said, shaking us all by the hand;
"I've been looking for you for many a day.  We must have some hunting
and shooting.  I will send over and let your father know that I have
laid an embargo on you, so that he must not expect you until you appear.
You can study as hard as you like in the evening, or whenever we are in
the house, and Mr Laffan will give you lectures on natural history
while we are on our excursions.  Juan, mio amigo, you must remain also;
we have plenty of room, and can hang up a dozen hammocks, or fifty for
that matter; I have hooks provided on purpose in the hall."

Juan did not even make a show of refusing, for fear that the invitation
might not be pressed.  I suspect that Uncle Richard was well aware of
his admiration for Dona Dolores, who was a distant cousin of Dona
Maria's.  She was an only daughter, and heiress of a fair estate close
to Egido.

Mr Laffan making no objection, Don Ricardo despatched a messenger, as
he had promised, to our father, and we remained with clear consciences.

The house itself, I may here say, was a long low building, of two
stories only in one portion, round which ran a broad verandah.  It
possessed no pretensions to architectural beauty, but was very neat and
comfortable inside, and even elegant on the garden front.

Before dinner Don Ricardo took us out to see the gardens and farm.  In
the former, the fruits I have already described were growing in
profusion, besides vegetables of all sorts.  In one direction spread out
fields of Indian corn of luxuriant growth.  In the meadows were cattle
and sheep with beautiful white fleeces and long tails, while numbers of
horses were seen galloping about at liberty.

"I sincerely hope the Spaniards will not pay a visit to this place,"
observed Mr Laffan to me, as Uncle Richard and Juan were walking on
ahead; "they would soon make a clean sweep of these cattle and the

This estate was only one of many others of a similar character scattered
over the country, but probably Egido benefited by the energy and
perseverance of its owner.  My father used to remark, that Dona Maria
was twice as rich as she would have been had she married a countryman
with an estate double the size of her own.  The people also were well
looked after, having nice cottages, well thatched, and kept clean and
tidy.  Uncle Richard's plan was to go about giving prizes to those who
had the best-kept huts.  He had a school for the children, too, where
they were taught to read the Bible, notwithstanding the objection at
first raised by the parish priest--who was, however, at length induced
to read it himself.  He one day came to Uncle Richard and acknowledged
it to be the best book for all who could read.  Although the honest
padre at first sided with the oppressors of his country, he now became
an earnest Liberal, but avoided taking any open part in politics, and
confined himself to instructing the people.  Uncle Richard was no
theologian, and had never had an argument in his life with Padre
Vincente.  His custom was simply to open the Bible and point to certain
parts, and say, "Read that; if this book was written by God's command--
and I am sure it was--that's what he says, not I."  Padre Vincente might
not have called himself a Protestant, but he certainly preached the
gospel, and the people under his charge were the best conducted and
happiest in the neighbourhood.

On our return to the house, we found dinner ready.  Dona Maria, during
our absence, had been busy superintending its preparation; and if the
table did not groan with delicacies, the feast was as good a one as we
could have desired to eat.  Mr Laffan, Hugh, and I showed, at all
events, that we enjoyed it, though Juan was unusually silent, and ate
but little.  There was something on his mind, which came out after

"Duncan," he said, "I want you and Senor Laffan to assist me in giving
Dona Dolores a serenade, as soon as the shades of evening come on.  You
sing, and he plays the guitar.  I understand that Dona Dolores is fond
of music, although she tells me that I trifle away my time by practising

Uncle Richard laughed when Juan told him what he was going to do.  "If I
were a bachelor I would accompany you, although such kind of singing as
yours is somewhat out of my way.  I don't think, however, that the young
lady would be charmed by `Cease, rude Boreas,' `One night it blew a
hurricane,' `On board of the Arethusa,' or such other songs as I used to
sing afloat."

We had no difficulty in procuring a couple of guitars.  Juan took one,
Mr Laffan the other, and as soon as it began to grow dark we set out.
We soon approached the front of Dona Dolores' residence.  It was a
two-storied building, with a balcony on one side overhanging the road
some little way from the entrance-gate.

Juan and I were walking together, Mr Laffan bringing up the rear, when
suddenly the former stopped and grasped my arm.  "I see some one on the
balcony," he whispered.  "It must be she--how fortunate!  She would
consider it rude to go away when once we begin; let us lose no time."

We cautiously approached.

"Suppose it is only her old duenna, Senora Ortes!"

"Nonsense!" answered Juan.  "I can discern the outline of her figure; no
other form can possess such grace."

I thought that Juan's imagination assisted him in this respect, as I
could only just distinguish that a female was seated on the balcony.  As
we drew near, however, I began to suspect that it was Dona Dolores
herself, but her head at the time was turned away, as if addressing some

Stepping softly, so that we might not be discovered until we at once
burst into song, we approached the house.  Juan led the way; I kept
close under the wall, having no guitar; while Mr Laffan stood at a
little distance.  Juan gave the signal, and we commenced the song.  It
was in praise of a lady resembling Dona Dolores in all particulars, and
the love and devotion of one whose affection she had won, but appeared
to regard with disdain.

Dona Dolores--for it was she--leaned her head on her hand as she
listened to the music, which was such as to attract any female ear.  I
will not speak of my own powers; but Juan's voice was full and rich--
indeed, he was one of the best singers I ever heard; and Mr Laffan did
his part on the guitar.

We had continued for some time, when Dona Dolores leaned forward and
said, "I will not pretend to be ignorant as to who you are.  You desire
to speak with me; and I am willing to see you.  You are welcome to come
in, with your young friend, whose voice I recognise."

Don Juan poured out his thanks, and expressed his readiness to take
advantage of the permission given him.

Dona Dolores had said nothing of Mr Laffan; perhaps she had not
perceived him, or in the dark had mistaken him for me, as I had been
concealed under the wall--although our figures were very different.  At
all events, it was very evident that he would be one too many.  Of this
he was perfectly well aware himself, and as we went round to the front
entrance he whispered,--"I'll go back and tell Don Ricardo that you have
the honour of an interview, and will soon return;" and without another
word he hastened along the road.

We made our way to the front gate, which was opened as we arrived by
Senora Ortes, who had been directed by her mistress to let us in.

"Dona Dolores awaits you in her sitting-room," she said; "you are

She led the way into the house.  We found Dona Dolores with a female
friend, somewhat older, seated in a well-furnished room, with a couple
of guitars on a sofa beside them.  Some books were on a table, very
seldom to be seen in a lady's apartment in that country; while one of
the walls was ornamented with swords and daggers, guns and pistols--
giving a somewhat odd appearance to a lady's boudoir.

Dona Dolores looked handsomer than ever, and I could not be surprised
that she had won my friend's heart.  She smiled as we approached and
saluted her.  Don Juan having told her where we were staying, and a
little ordinary conversation having taken place, they both looked, I
thought, as if they wished that the other lady and I were at a distance.
We, at all events, supposing such to be the case, retired to the other
end of the room, to examine some artificial flowers, which the young
lady told me she had learned to make at the nunnery of the Encarnacion
at Popayan.  She then confided to me that she had once intended to be a
nun, but, after a little experience of a conventual existence before she
had taken the vows, thought better of it, and had returned to her
friends; adding, "And perhaps some day I may accept a husband, should a
suitable one be presented to me."

While we were speaking, she saw my eye directed towards the arms on the

"They are all in good order, and intended to be used," she observed.
"My friend thinks it a good place to keep them in, as no one would
imagine that they were placed there otherwise than for ornament.  The
time may come, however, and that before long, when they may do good
service to our country."

Although my companion continued to speak, as if to engage my attention,
I could not help hearing the conversation that was going on between Don
Juan and Dona Dolores.  In ardent tones he declared his love and
devotion, and vowed that his happiness in life depended on her becoming
his wife.

"I will not deny, Don Juan, that I return the love you bestow on me; but
this arises from the weakness of my woman's nature.  Notwithstanding
this, I tell you that nothing shall induce me to marry a man who is not
ready to sacrifice his life and property to obtain the enfranchisement
of our beloved country from the tyrannical yoke of her oppressors.  You
have hitherto led an indolent life, regardless of the sufferings of our
people.  Not until I see you boldly come forward and nobly devote
yourself to the cause of freedom, will I promise to become your wife.
When that freedom has been won, and the Spaniards, the hated Godos, have
been driven into the sea--"

"But that may not be for many years, my beloved Dolores!" exclaimed Don
Juan; "am I to wait so long before I enjoy the unspeakable happiness of
calling you mine?"

"If you and other young men of wealth and position in the country, who
ought to set the example to other classes, hang back, that glorious
object may never be accomplished, and I shall die a maiden; for I swear
to you I will never wed while our country remains enslaved," exclaimed
Dona Dolores in a firm tone.

My companion's tongue here went rattling on at such a rate, that I did
not hear what more was said for some time; but it was evident that Dona
Dolores was expatiating on the duty of all patriots to struggle on, in
spite of every difficulty, until the power of the Spaniards was

At length Don Juan exclaimed,--"Your arguments have prevailed, Dona
Dolores: from henceforth I will emerge from the useless life I have
hitherto led, and will devote my life to the cause of Freedom.  You
shall have no reason to complain of your pupil.  I trust that you will
hear of such deeds as you would have me do; and you may be sure that I
shall ever be found in the van of the battle, when the foe are to be
encountered.  Your approval, and the reward I look for, will spur me on
to acts of valour."

As he spoke I looked round.  Dona Dolores had given him her hand, which
he was pressing to his lips; and I heard her say,--"I will trust you,
Juan; and you may rest assured that I will not depart from my promise."

As my companion had no longer any excuse for remaining where we were,
she returned to the side of her friend.  Dona Dolores had taken up her
guitar, and running her fingers over the strings, sang a few verses of a
patriotic song, which greatly affected Juan, and at the same time roused
in my heart a desire to take a part in the struggle for freedom in which
all classes throughout the country were eager to engage.  It was
well-known that, when once it began, it would be to the knife, as the
Spanish generals showed no mercy to those who fell into their power--
neither sex, rank, nor age were spared.  As we spoke of the atrocities
which had been committed, the eyes of Dona Dolores flashed fire.  She
pressed her lips together, and looked towards the wall on which the
weapons hung.

"Every man and youth--ay, every woman who has a spark of patriotism--
must take a part in the glorious work!" she exclaimed.  Rising from her
seat, she took a sword from the wall.  "Here, my Juan, let me gird you
with this weapon; and when once you draw it, swear that it shall never
again be sheathed until the standard of Liberty waves throughout the
length and breadth of the land, and every Spaniard is hurled into the
ocean which bore him to our shores."

Don Juan, kissing the jewelled hilt of the weapon, swore as Dolores
wished, and with a triumphant smile she buckled it to his waist.

My enthusiasm being aroused, I dare say I too looked as if I wished to
be presented with a sword.

"You must wait a while," observed Dona Dolores, divining my thoughts;
"you are not yet your own master, and I would not compromise your
excellent father."

The remark showed that the speaker possessed good sense and judgment as
well as patriotism.

At last I reminded Juan that Don Ricardo would be expecting us, and we
took our leave of the two ladies--my admiration for Dona Dolores greatly
increased by the visit we had paid her.

I expected that Juan would break out enthusiastically in her praise, but
he did not utter a word during our walk home; his thoughts were
evidently occupied by the new duties he had undertaken.  He had hitherto
passed his time in superintending his mother's estate, or enjoying such
amusements as offered.  He would now have to lead a life full of dangers
and hardships.

"I congratulate you on finding Dona Dolores at home," observed Uncle
Richard when we arrived.

"Yes, we had that honour," said Juan, endeavouring to hide the sword
which he had received--he had given me his to carry.  I observed that he
placed it carefully against the wall, and covered it with his cloak.

Supper was now announced, but Juan spoke very little during the meal.
Mr Laffan, however, conversed for all the party; rattling away, as he
could do when he had had a glass or two of good wine to raise his
spirits, and listening, apparently with rapt attention, to Uncle
Richard's sea stories and jokes, though he had heard them fifty times
before.  Dona Maria, too, spoke English very fairly, having learned it
from her husband; and Juan could understand what was said, though he was
bashful about speaking.

We retired at an early hour to our hammocks, as we were to start betimes
the next morning, on our expedition.



I was in doubt whether Juan would accompany us.  When I asked him, he
replied that he wished to have some conversation with Don Ricardo, and
that he should have an opportunity of speaking to him as we rode along.
Leaving our own horses in the stable, we were supplied instead with
active little mules, better calculated for climbing up and sliding down
the steep declivities.  We had a dozen couples of dogs, not quite as
large as greyhounds, but of the same species.

"They will run down any of the wild animals found in these forests, as
well as the danta, or wild ass--the black bear, red leopard, tiger-cat,
the deer, and fox; though it is necessary to follow them closely, since,
not being well broken-in, they will devour their prey, if they have an
opportunity, before the hunter comes up," observed Uncle Richard, as we
were about to start, our canine companions barking and yelping round us.

We had not gone far when we saw an Indian in a large field of maize near
the road, engaged in snaring the red-headed, green parroquets, which are
here very numerous, and do much mischief to the crops of corn.  The
snares are very simple, being composed of a line of horse-hair, a
slip-knot, and a loop, in the centre of which a little maize is
sprinkled as a bait.  As soon as the bird pitches on the grain, the
Indian draws the line with a sudden jerk, and catches the bird by the
legs.  Just as we arrived he had caught one, which Hugh cried out he
should like to have.  On this the man brought it to him; but the bird
fought so vigorously to obtain its liberty, and gave Hugh so severe a
bite on the finger, that he was glad to let it go.

We had dismounted in order to enjoy a draught of water from a fountain
which bubbled out of the hill-side, and to pluck some oranges from a
grove irrigated by it.  Mr Laffan had gone to a little distance, and we
saw him stretching up to reach some fruit from a bough overhead, when he
uttered a cry, or rather a howl to which an Irishman alone can give
vent; and his foot slipping on a root which projected above the soil,
down he came stretched at full length.  But he was not inclined to lie
long on the ground; and springing up, off he scampered.  At the same
instant a tiger-cat leaped out of the tree; while a covey of partridges,
which had been nestling in the grass close by, rose with a loud "wurr,"
still further alarming the dominie.

"Get your guns! get your guns!" he shouted.  "There's a huge tiger, or a
jaguar, or a beast of some sort, close at our heels; he'll be after
seizing some of us, if we are not on our guard."

As he spoke we saw the tiger-cat, quite as much frightened as Mr
Laffan, scampering off in the opposite direction; and a hearty laugh, in
which we all indulged, assured our friend that no danger was to be
apprehended.  Before we could get our guns ready, both partridges and
tiger-cat had disappeared.

The air was pure and invigorating, and the scenery, made up of forests,
mountains, and streams, was magnificent.

At length the dogs found a deer, to which, as it started off along the
side of the hill, we all gave chase.  Over fallen logs, gullies, and
streams we galloped, finding it no easy matter to keep up with our
nimble four-footed companions.  Juan was the most active among us;
holding his rifle in his hand ready for a shot, he at length got ahead.
I saw him lift his weapon and fire, and as he did so the deer leaped
several feet in the air and fell over dead.  We soon had it flayed and
cut up, when it was placed on the back of one of the mules brought for
the purpose.

Several other deer were started, and I had the satisfaction of killing
one with my own rifle; but Juan was the most successful.

The dominie, although he did not at first quite recover his nerve, had
before long an opportunity of displaying his skill and courage.  The
dogs, which were ahead, were heard barking loudly.

"That's not deer," observed Uncle Richard; "it must be some savage
animal at bay."

We were hurrying forward--having, I should have said, dismounted from
our mules--the dominie on this occasion leading, when, with a loud roar,
a huge jaguar leaped from its covert, scattering the dogs on either
side, and making directly toward us.  Mr Laffan, dropping on his knee,
and holding his rifle like an infantry soldier about to receive a charge
of cavalry, waited until the jaguar was within twelve yards of him, when
he fired.  The creature bounded on, and I trembled for our friend's
safety; but in an instant, rising, he sprang on one side, and drawing
his hunting-knife he struck it into the shoulder of the savage animal,
right up to the hilt, when the jaguar rolled over with one convulsive
struggle and was dead.

We all congratulated the dominie on his skill and coolness.

"I'm not in the habit of howling when I see a beast, but I was just now
thinking to pick an orange, when the tiger-cat sprang at my throat.
Faith! it was a little more than I bargained for," he answered,

"It is certainly what any of us would have done; though few would have
met a jaguar with the same coolness as you have exhibited," observed
Uncle Richard.

We arrived at length at a neatly-thatched cottage near a hacienda,
belonging to a farmer who employed Indians chiefly in the cultivation of
his fields.  He was absent, but an old Indian who had charge of the
house begged us to enter and consider it as our own.  As the sun was
high and the heat increasing, we were glad to find shelter beneath its
roof.  Here we spread the viands which had been brought in a pannier on
the back of one of the mules.

Several of the Indians possessed blow-pipes, from which they projected
arrows not more than eight inches in length; and with these we saw them
bring down a number of parroquets and other birds in rapid succession.
Scarcely had a bird been touched than, after fluttering for a few
moments, it fell dead.  The arrows, we found, were poisoned; and the
Indians told us that the poison was produced from the moisture which
exudes from the back of a small green frog.  They declared that, to
obtain it, the frog was put near a fire, and in the moisture which
quickly appeared on its back they dipped the tips of their arrows.  So
speedy is the poison, that even a jaguar or puma which has received the
slightest wound soon becomes convulsed and dies.  Instead of feathers, a
little cotton is wrapped neatly round the lower end of the arrow, to
make it go steadily through the air: and at about an inch from the point
it is spiral.

The major-domo told us that the farm, being at a distance from others,
was frequently attacked by jaguars, which carried off pigs, calves, and
sometimes even mules, although horses and the larger animals were
generally too wary for them.  He took us to a remote spot, to show us a
trap which had been set for catching the jaguars.  It was in a small
circular plot of ground, enclosed with strong stakes of considerable
height, to prevent the entrapped jaguar from breaking through or leaping
over.  A doorway is left for the jaguar to enter.  Above this is
suspended a large plank of wood communicating with one on the ground,
over which the jaguar on entering must tread, and it is so contrived
that as he does so the portcullis falls and shuts him in.  A live pig is
fastened by a rope in the centre of the enclosure as a bait.  An Indian
is always on the watch at night in a tree near the spot, and the moment
the jaguar is caught he gives the alarm, and his companions assemble and
despatch it with firearms and lances.  Previous to our visit, a male and
female jaguar had been caught together, but before the labourers could
assemble they had almost eaten up the poor pig.

As we had already as much venison as we could carry, we agreed that we
should like to go out with the old Indian factor, Quamodo, and hunt
jaguars under his guidance, with as many of his people as he could
collect.  By the time luncheon was over, therefore, he had provided a
party of Indians, armed with long lances, and a number of sturdy-looking
dogs very unlike our own high-bred animals--which, being unfit for the
purpose, were left behind under the charge of their keepers.

We proceeded some distance through the forest, the dogs advancing in
regular order like riflemen skirmishing, so that there was no chance of
a jaguar being passed without their discovering him.  After keeping on
for about a couple of miles, the dogs stopped and began to bay loudly;
whereupon the old Indian told us to halt, with our arms ready for
action, while the lance-men moved forward.  The dogs, encouraged by
their masters' voices, continued to advance; and we soon caught sight of
a jaguar thirty yards in front of us, seated on his haunches, prepared
for fight.  Several of the more daring dogs now sprang forward, but two
paid dearly for their boldness; for the jaguar striking them with his
huge paw, they soon lay dead at his feet.  The Indians now allowed the
dogs to attack the jaguar.  Taught wisdom by the fate of their
companions, however, they assaulted him in the rear, rushing in on his
haunches, biting him, and then retiring.  This continued for some time.
Although the jaguar saw the men, he had first to settle with his canine
enemies; and the efforts he made to keep them at a distance apparently
considerably exhausted him.  The Indians then shouted and threw sticks
towards him, in order to irritate him and make him spring upon them; and
having got up to within twenty yards of him, they next presented their
lances in such a position that, when he might spring, they would receive
him on the points.  Suddenly he began to move; then he sprang, moving in
a semicircular line, like a cat and uttering a tremendous roar.  The
lance-men kept their bodies bent, grasping their lances with both hands,
while one end rested on the ground.  I thought that the jaguar would
have killed the man at whom he sprung, but the Indian was strong of
nerve as well as of limb, and the point of his lance entered the
jaguar's chest, when the others immediately rushed forward and
despatched the savage brute with their weapons.

Old Quamodo told us how it sometimes happens that a hunter unfortunately
fails to receive the jaguar on his lance; and in many instances he is
torn to pieces before he can be assisted.  His only resource on such an
occasion is his manchette, or long knife,--by means of which, if he can
stab the jaguar, he may possibly escape.  Quamodo also narrated how,
upon one occasion in his youth, when he was very fond of jaguar hunting,
he only slightly wounded an animal with his lance, and the jaguar,
closing with him, knocked him down with his paw.  Keeping his presence
of mind, however, he drew his long knife with one hand, while he seized
the throat of the jaguar with the other.  A desperate struggle ensued,
and he received several severe wounds from the claws and teeth of the
creature.  As he rolled over and over he made good use of his knife,
stabbing his antagonist until the jaguar sank down dead from loss of
blood.  He managed to crawl home, and recovered.  He declared that as
soon as he was well again he went out hunting, and killed a couple of
jaguars, in revenge for the injuries he had received.

On another occasion, while out hunting, he fell asleep on a bank,
exhausted by fatigue.  Suddenly he was awakened by a tremendous blow on
the side of the head.  His natural impulse was to start up and shout
lustily, when he saw a huge jaguar standing close to him, about to
repeat the salute.  His cries were heard by his companions, who were at
a short distance, and they hastened to his assistance.  The jaguar,
however, was probably not very hungry, for before he could use his
manchette, or his friends come up, the creature bounded off, leaving the
hunter with the top of his ear torn away, and an ugly scratch on his
head.  Still the old Indian was of opinion that the jaguar seldom
attacks human beings unless first molested by them.

We encountered and killed another animal, much in the same way as the
first; and having secured their skins, we returned to the farm, and
afterwards set off on our way home.  As we emerged from the forest we
saw that clouds of inky blackness were collecting rapidly overhead, and
spreading across the whole valley.

"We must push forward, for we are about to have a storm, and no slight
one," observed Uncle Richard.  "Fast as we may go, however, we shall not
escape the whole of it."

Scarcely had he spoken when a flash of the most vivid lightning darted
from the sky, wriggling along the ground like a huge snake.

"It's well that we are in the open country; but even here we may be
overtaken by one of those flashes--though Heaven grant that they may
pass us by," said Uncle Richard.

The flashes were succeeded by the most tremendous roars of thunder, as
if the whole artillery of heaven were being discharged at once.  The
animals we rode stopped and trembled, and when urged by the spur dashed
forward as if running a race for their lives; indeed, it was no easy
matter to sit them, as they sprang now on one side, now on the other.
In a short time the rain came down in torrents, every drop, as the
dominie declared, "as big as a hen's egg."  As a natural consequence, in
a few seconds we were wet to the skin, though that mattered but little.

While we were passing a lofty and magnificent tree, about fifty yards
off, a flash darted from the sky, and a fearful crash was heard.  The
next instant the tree was gone, shivered to the very roots, while the
fragments of its branches and trunk strewed the ground around.  No
shelter was at hand; indeed, unless to escape the rain, it would have
been useless, for the strongest building would not have secured us from
the effects of such a flash.  Our great object was to keep away from any
trees which might attract the lightning.

The storm was still raging when we arrived at home, where we found Dona
Maria and Rosa in no small alarm about us,--thinking more of our safety
than their own.  They had closed all the windows and doors--as they
said, to keep the lightning out; although in reality it only prevented
them from seeing the bright flashes.  The trembling mules were sent
round to the stables; while Uncle Richard produced various articles from
his wardrobe with which to clothe us.

The ladies laughed heartily as we made our appearance at the
supper-table.  Hugh was dressed with one of Rosa's petticoats over his
shoulders, which she declared gave him a very Oriental look.  The
dominie had on a flowered dressing-gown of Uncle Richard's, with a pair
of loose drawers, and a sash round his waist.  Juan wore a red shirt, a
sky-blue dress coat, and a pair of shooting breeches; while I was rigged
out in an entire suit belonging to our host, a world too wide, and much
too short.

The storm had by this time ceased, though the thunder, as it rolled away
down the valley, was occasionally heard.

The ladies were amused by the account of our adventures, especially on
hearing of the alarm of Mr Laffan at the unexpected appearance of the
tiger-cat Uncle Richard having proposed music, Dona Maria and Rosa got
their guitars and sang very sweetly.

"Now let us have a dance," cried our host, jumping up; "old Pepe plays
the fiddle, and we have another fellow who is an adept with the pipes."

The persons named were sent for.  The first was a grey-headed old man,
half Spaniard, half Indian; the latter a young man, a pure-blooded
Indian.  The merry strains they struck up inspired us all; even the
dominie rose and began to snap his fingers and kick his heels.  Don
Ricardo setting the example, we were soon all engaged in an uproarious
country dance; while every now and then we burst into laughter, as we
looked at each other, and criticised our costumes.

Pretty well tired out, we soon turned into our hammocks, Uncle Richard
having proposed another excursion on the following day.

On getting up in the morning, we found all the females of the family
already on foot, busily engaged in various household duties.  Dona
Maria, habited in a somewhat _degage_ costume, was superintending the
baking of Indian corn bread, which was done in the most primitive
fashion.  Some of the girls were pounding the grain in huge mortars with
pestles, which it required a strong pair of arms to use; others were
kneading large masses of the flour in pans, which were then formed into
flat cakes, and placed on a copper "girdle" with a charcoal fire
beneath, where they were quickly baked.  They gave us some of the cakes
to stay our appetites, just hot from the "girdle," and most delicious
they were.

Having taken a turn round the fields, where the labourers were
assembling to commence work, we returned to an early breakfast.  As Mr
Laffan had seen but little of the country, Uncle Richard proposed that
we should visit some interesting places in the neighbourhood.  Juan
excused himself; he very naturally wished to pay his respects to Dona
Dolores, and soon afterwards rode off.

"He is desperately in love, there's no doubt about that," remarked Dona
Maria.  "Dolores will make much of him, for she is equally attached to
him, though she will not acknowledge it.  She is a fine spirited girl--a
devoted Patriot.  She converted her father, who was rather disposed to
side with the Godos for the sake of a quiet life; but she roused him up,
and he is now as warm in the cause of liberty as she is."

"Are you not a Patriot, Aunt Maria?"  I asked.

"I side with my husband, and he is an Englishman."

"But Englishmen love liberty and hate tyranny, if they are worthy of the
name of Britons," I answered; "and I hope we shall all be ready, when
the time comes, to fight for freedom."

"But we may lose our property and our lives, if the Spaniards prevail,"
she remarked.

"They must not prevail; we must conquer!" exclaimed Uncle Richard, who
just then came in.

"Has Dona Dolores won you over?" asked Dona Maria of her husband.

"She is a noble creature, and sees things in their true light," answered
Uncle Richard.  "While the Spaniards have the upper hand, through
keeping the people in subjection by their soldiers, and their minds in
darkness and superstition through the teaching of the priests, our
country can never flourish.  All progress is stopped.  Our agriculture
is stunted, our commerce crippled, and no manufactures can exist."

"That's just what Dona Dolores says," observed Aunt Maria.

"And she says the truth," answered Uncle Richard.  "I for one am
resolved to aid the Patriot cause; and you, my dear wife, will
acknowledge that I am acting rightly.  You cannot wish to see our
children slaves; and what else can they be, if, for fear of the
consequences, we tamely submit to the yoke of Spain?"

I remembered this conversation in after-days, when Uncle Richard showed
how fully he kept up to the principles he professed, and Dona Maria
proved herself to be a true and faithful wife.

After Uncle Richard had transacted some business, we set off on our
expedition, mounted on mules, for the road we had to traverse was rough
and uneven in the extreme.  We had several small rivers to cross, which,
in consequence of the storm of the preceding day, had become torrents,
and almost carried our mules off their legs.  The beds of the streams,
too, were full of large stones, which had fallen down from the
mountains.  In these torrents swimming is of no avail, as the water
rushes on with irresistible force, carrying everything before it.
Sometimes in the descent of the hills the mules sat on their haunches,
gliding down with their fore-feet stretched out in the most scientific

At length, sliding down a steep descent, we arrived at the hot spring,
which issues from an aperture about three feet in diameter, at the
bottom of the valley--the water bubbling up very much like that in a
boiling pot.  Around the brink of the aperture is an incrustation of
brimstone, of a light colour, from which we broke off several pieces and
carried them away.  The dominie put in his finger to test the heat of
the water, but drew it out again pretty quickly.

"You will not find me doing that a second time!" he exclaimed, as he put
his scalded finger into his mouth to cool it.

We had brought some eggs, which were boiled hard in little more than
three minutes.

Mr Laffan having carried away some of the water, afterwards analysed
it, and found it to be composed of sulphur and salt.  On being exposed
to the sun, the sulphur evaporated, and left pure white salt fit for

After leaving the spring, we continued some way further towards the Rio
Vinaigre, or Vinegar River.  On our road we passed several Indian huts
perched on the summits of precipices which appeared perfectly
inaccessible; but, of course, there were narrow paths by which the
inhabitants could climb up to their abodes.  They naturally delight in
these gloomy and solitary situations, and had sufficient reasons for
selecting them: for they were here free from the attacks of wild beasts
or serpents, and also from their cruel masters the Spaniards, who were
accustomed to drag them away to work in the mines, to build
fortifications, or to serve in the ranks of their armies.

Dismounting, we climbed up a zig-zag path, to pay a visit to one of
these Indian abodes which was less difficult to reach than the rest,
although a couple of well-armed men, supplied with a store of rocks,
could from the summit have kept a whole army at bay.  The hut was the
abode of an old Indian, the descendant of the chief of a once powerful
tribe.  We found him leaning against the sunny side of his house, and
holding on to a long staff with which he supported himself.  He was
dressed in a large broad-brimmed hat, a poncho over his shoulders, and
sandals on his feet.  His projecting, dropping lower jaw exhibited the
few decayed teeth he had in his head, which, with his lustreless eyes,
made him look the very picture of decrepitude.  He brightened up and
rose, however, as he saw Uncle Richard,--with whom he was acquainted,
and who had frequently shown him kindness,--and welcomed us to his

The thatched hut was diminutive, and full of smoke, as there was but one
small hole in the roof by which it could escape.  Some distance behind
it, and separated by a wide chasm, over which a bamboo bridge had been
thrown, was a wide level space, with mountains rising above it, on which
sheep and goats were feeding--the fields fenced round by a shrub called
el lechero, or milk-tree, which derives its name from a white liquid
oozing out of it when a branch is broken off.  This liquid, however, is
sharp and caustic.  The sticks, about six feet in height, throw out
young shoots like the osier, and when pruned become very thick, and form
an excellent fence.  Within the enclosure were growing patches of wheat,
potatoes, and Indian corn, as also the yuca root, from the flour of
which palatable cakes are formed.  This mountain plantation was
cultivated, the old man told us, by the faithful followers of his tribe.
He had no children; he was the last of his race.

Uncle Richard had an object in paying the visit.  The old Indian had
considerable influence over the inhabitants of the surrounding hills,
and he wished to stir them up, when the time should come, to join the
Patriot ranks.

"I am too old myself to strike a blow for liberty," said the old man;
"but often, as I gaze over yonder wide valley, and remember that once it
belonged to my ancestors, that by the cruelty and oppression of the
Godos my people are now reduced to a handful, and that the sufferings
and death of thousands of my people rest on the heads of our oppressors,
my heart swells with indignation.  Si, Senor Ricardo, si.  You may
depend on me that I will use all the influence I possess to arouse my
people, but I fear that we shall be able to send scarce fifty warriors
into the field--many of them mere youths, although they have the hearts
of men."

After some further conversation, Uncle Richard left a present with the
old cacique, and we bade him farewell.

On reaching the foot of the cliff we met several Indians, who, having
observed us from neighbouring heights, had come down to ascertain the
object of our visit.  Uncle Richard spoke to them, although not so
openly as he had done to the chief.  The men had a peculiarly serious
cast of countenance; not one of them smiled while with us, but they
appeared good-tempered, and were perfectly civil.  Their eyes were
large, fine, and full of expression; and two or three girls who were of
the party were decidedly good-looking, which is more than can be said of
Indian maidens in general.  Each man was accompanied by a dog, of which
he seemed very fond.  Round their huts we saw abundance of fruit, and
several fat pigs, so that they were evidently well off for provisions.

It is wonderful how long these Indians will go without food by chewing
coca leaf, which is far more sustaining and refreshing than tobacco.

"Those men would make sturdy soldiers, and fight bravely," observed
Uncle Richard, as we rode away.

Our destination was a small valley, through which the Rio Vinaigre makes
its way towards the Cauca.  We left our animals at the top of the hill,
as the descent was so steep and slippery that it would have been
impossible to ride down it.  As it was, we could scarcely keep our legs,
and the dominie more than once nearly fell head over heels.

Uncle Richard, by-the-by, had not told our worthy friend the character
of the river-water.  He had brought a cup, formed from a gourd, which
answered the purpose of a "quaich," as it is called in Scotland; and we
made our way down to the edge of the stream, where he could dip out a
cupful.  The water appeared bright and sparkling, and the dominie, who
was thirsty after his walk, put it to his lips and took a huge gulp.
Directly afterwards he spat it out, with a ridiculous grimace,

"Rotten lemons, iron filings, and saltpetre, by all that is abominable!
Ah, faith! there must have been poison in the cup."

"Wash it out and try again," said Uncle Richard; "although, I tell you,
I believe the cup is perfectly clean."

The dominie made a second attempt, with the same result.

"You find it taste somewhat like vinegar?" asked Uncle Richard.

"Indeed I do," answered Mr Laffan.  "Is it always like this?"

"Yes," said Uncle Richard; "it comes in its present state out of the
mountain, and you were not far from the truth in your description, as
when analysed it is found to be acidulated, nitrous, and ferruginous.
So completely does it retain these qualities, that in the Cauca, several
leagues below where it falls into that river, not a fish is to be found,
as the finny tribe appear to have as great a dislike to it as yourself."

The dominie, to satisfy himself, carried away half a bottle, for the
purpose of analysing it on his return home.

Proceeding up the valley, we visited, in succession, three waterfalls,
one of which came down over a perpendicular cliff, with a descent of a
couple of hundred feet.  We then bent our steps homewards, stopping by
the way to dine and rest our animals at a farm belonging to Uncle
Richard, and which it was one of the objects of our excursion to visit.
The building was entirely of wood, with wide projecting eaves, supported
by posts united by a railing, which gave it a very picturesque
appearance.  Around the house was an enclosure for the poultry, of which
there was a great profusion.  Indeed, it would have been difficult for a
hen-wife to know her hens.  Outside this was another enclosure for
cattle and horses.  In a smaller paddock were several llamas, which are
not indigenous to this part of the country.  They had been brought from
Upper Peru, where they are used as beasts of burden, and were here
occasionally so employed.  It was a pretty rural scene.

"It's lovely, it's lovely!  In truth, it reminds me of Old Ireland,
barring the palm-trees, and the cacti, and the chirramoyas, and the
Indian corn, and those llama beasts," exclaimed Mr Laffan.  Then
looking at the Indian women who were tending the poultry, he added, "And
those olive damsels.  Ah, young gentlemen, you should see my own fair
countrywomen, and you would acknowledge that through the world you
couldn't meet any beings so lovely under the blue vault of heaven--
whatever there may be above it in the form of angels; and they are as
modest as they are good."

Mr Laffan continued to expatiate on the perfections of green Erin's
Isle, its mountains, lakes, and rivers, a theme in which he delighted,
until his eyes glistened, and his voice choked with emotion, as he
thought of the country he might never again see.

Uncle Richard having inspected the farm, and examined some of the
horses, we mounted our animals and proceeded homewards.  We were
approaching the house, when we caught sight of Paul Lobo galloping
towards us from the direction of Popayan.

"What is the matter?" exclaimed Uncle Richard, observing his excited

"El senor doctor want to see you, Massa Duncan, in quarter less no time.
Says he, You Paul Lobo, get on horseback and bring him here."

The horse stood panting for breath, its nostrils covered with foam,
showing at what a rate he must have ridden.

"Why does he want to see me?"  I asked anxiously.  "Is he ill, or my
mother or Flora?"

"No, no! dey all berry well; but el senor doctor got news from Cauca,
and berry bad news too.  De Spaniards enter dere, and cut de t'roats ob
all de men 'cept what ride or run away, and de women as bad, and dey
come on quick march to Popayan; do de same t'ing dere, no doubt."

"That is indeed bad news," I said.  "We will get our horses and return
home to-night; they are fortunately fresh.  You must change horses,
Paul, and go with us, after you have had some food."

"We must endeavour to oppose them, if it can be done with any chance of
success," exclaimed Uncle Richard, who had just then come up.  "I will
accompany you, Duncan, and ascertain what your father advises.  We will
let Senor Monteverde and Dona Dolores know, in case they may not have
received the information."

We immediately entered the house, and Uncle Richard sent off a messenger
to the Monteverdes, where he supposed Juan would be found.

While we had dinner, and prepared for our ride, Paul took some food, and
was again ready to start when the horses were brought round.

Dona Maria was much agitated on hearing the news.  "Do nothing rash, my
dear Richard," she said to her husband.  "It is impossible to withstand
the Godos."

"Nothing is impossible to brave men fighting in a just cause," answered
Uncle Richard.

Embracing his wife and Rosa, to whom we had already bidden farewell, he
joined us in the courtyard, where we sat our horses ready to start.  We
had a long ride before us in the dark, the road being none of the best,
but our steeds were sure-footed, and we were well accustomed to them.

We had got to some distance, when we heard the tramp of horses coming
along a road which led from the Monteverdes' house, and Dona Dolores,
with her father and four domestics, all armed, came up.  She sat her
steed, as far as I could judge in the fast gathering gloom, like a
person who had thorough command over it.  She rode up to me, as if
desirous of speaking; and I took the opportunity to inquire for my
friend Juan, observing that he had not returned to Don Ricardo's.

"He has gone home to commence the career which, I trust, he will from
henceforth follow," she replied.  "He will endeavour to raise and arm
the men on his property, as well as others from the surrounding
villages.  We were already aware that the Spaniards were advancing up
the valley, and had been engaged in sending information in all
directions to arouse the Patriots, and to counsel them to take up arms
in defence of their homes and families.  We may count on you, Senor
Duncan?  Young as you are, you may render essential service to our
glorious cause, though your arm may not yet be strong enough to wield a

"I believe I could make very good use of one, if necessary," I answered,
somewhat piqued by her remark.  "Juan would tell you that I can hold my
own, even against him."

"I am glad to hear it," she observed.

"We must not count the cost, dear as that may be," I said; "but I shall
be ready to yield up my life, and everything I possess, could I be sure
that victory would be gained by the sacrifice."

"We may count on you, then, as a Patriot?"

"Yes, most certainly, as you can on Don Ricardo."

"And upon your tall tutor?  I don't know his name."

I told her his name, and she immediately rode up alongside Mr Laffan.
We were ascending a hill too steep to gallop up, which enabled us to
hold this conversation.  What the patriotic young lady said to the
dominie I did not at the time know, but, whatever his previous
sentiments were, her enthusiastic eloquence soon won him to the cause
she had espoused.

On reaching the level ground, we galloped forward as hard as our horses
could go, led by Uncle Richard.  Our worthy tutor kept by the side of
Hugh, about whom he seemed to have no little anxiety; but my young
brother sat his horse as well as any of us, and assured Mr Laffan that
he need not be troubled about him.  Dona Dolores, with her father,
followed close behind Uncle Richard, and whenever we were obliged to
pull up she spoke with her usual earnestness to one or other of the
party, as if eager to make the best use of the time in impressing her
ideas on others.  She did not disdain to speak even to Paul Lobo.

"I do what massa el senor doctor does," was the reply.

She found, at last, that she could make nothing of Paul--who was,
however, as great a lover of liberty as any of us.

Crossing the bridge, we at length entered the city, where the streets
were even more quiet than usual.  We scarcely met a single person as we
rode up to our house.  It was perhaps as well that we did not, for the
appearance of so large a party might have roused the suspicions of some
of the Spanish authorities.

My father came in from visiting a patient at the moment we arrived.
Dona Dolores and Senor Monteverde had, I should have said, parted from
us, and gone to the house of a friend.  My father seemed somewhat
surprised at seeing Uncle Richard with us, but said he was very glad
that he had come.  We found supper on the table waiting us; and as soon
as the servants had withdrawn, my father addressed me, and told us the
particulars of the news he had received.

"This city will not be a safe place for women and children, or any one
else, in a short time," he observed.  "Those who have duties to perform
must remain at their posts.  I have numerous patients whom I ought not
to and will not desert.  I therefore sent for you, Duncan, to take
charge of your mother and sister, and to escort them to your Uncle
Richard's, where you can watch over their safety.  I know that I can
rely on Mr Laffan to assist you."

"Indeed, sir, you may," he replied; "while I have an arm to strike a
blow, I will fight for the ladies."

"I hope that while they are in my house they will run no risk, removed
as it is from the city," said Uncle Richard; "and if you will entrust
them to my keeping, I will take care of them, along with my wife and
daughter.  Duncan and Mr Laffan may be of use here."

Uncle Richard then began to tell my father the plans which had been
formed for preventing the Spaniards from entering the city.

My father stopped him.  "I desire not to be acquainted with anything
that is going forward.  It is my duty to endeavour to heal the sick and
wounded, in the character of a physician and a non-combatant.  I may
remain unmolested, and be able to serve the cause of humanity.  As for
Duncan and Mr Laffan, I will reconsider my intentions.  I will,
however, accept your offer as regards my wife and Flora, and place them
under your care."

It was finally arranged that my mother and sister, with their female
attendants, and Hugh, should set off the next morning, escorted by Uncle
Richard; and that Mr Laffan and I should remain until, in the course of
events, it might be decided what was best to be done.



During the night information was received that the Spaniards, two days
before, had entered Bouga, on the Cauca, leaving us in no doubt that
they were advancing up the valley, and might be expected in our
neighbourhood in the course of three or four days--perhaps even their
cavalry might appear sooner, as they probably, thinking there was no
force to oppose them, would push on ahead of the main body.  My father
therefore kept to his resolution of sending off my mother and sister;
and the next morning at daylight, after a hurried breakfast, the horses
and mules were brought round to the courtyard, ready to start.  My
mother and sister, and the female attendants, rode the mules; the rest
of the party were mounted on horseback.  It was settled that Mr Laffan
and I should accompany them to Egido, as we could without difficulty be
back before nightfall.

Our uncle, Dr Cazalla, came to see our mother off.

"I wish that you would accompany us, my dear brother," she said.  "If
the Spaniards take the place, you are certain to be annoyed and
persecuted, even should no worse consequences follow."

"No, no; I must stay at my post, as your husband intends doing.  We must
set a good example.  If the principal people run away, what may be
expected of others?"

My mother's entreaties were of no avail, so Uncle Richard, finding that
all was ready, gave the word to move on.

We proceeded as fast as the mules could travel, and by noon arrived at
Uncle Richard's hacienda, where Aunt Maria and Rosa gave my mother a
warm reception.

"We shall here, I trust, be safe from the Spaniards; but if we hear of
their coming, we must take to the mountains, where even they will be
unable to find us," said Dona Maria.

"But what will become of the house and estate?" asked my mother.

"We must leave that matter in God's hands," answered Dona Maria.  "If
the fruit trees are cut down, and the corn destroyed, he can restore
them.  The Godos cannot prevent that."

As soon as our horses had baited, the dominie and I prepared to start on
our return.  I embraced my mother and sister affectionately, and bade
farewell to dear little Rosa and Aunt Maria.  We knew not what might
occur before we should meet again.  I had, while staying at the house,
admired a fine dog called Lion, which had grown from a puppy into a
noble animal since I first saw him.  The creature had taken a great
fancy to me, too, and this had been observed by Uncle Richard.

"I make you a present of him, Duncan," said Uncle Richard; "he will
prove faithful, I am sure, and may possibly be of service."

Lion was a species of hound, with a thick tawny coat and large paws,
possessing prodigious strength.  He was good-tempered and obedient, but
at the same time it was very evident that he could fight desperately
with those powerful jaws of his.  Patting his head, I told him that he
was to accompany us, and he seemed fully to understand me.  The dominie
was already mounted.  Lion looked at Uncle Richard when he saw me
getting on horseback, as if to ask if he was to go.  Uncle Richard
nodded, and pointed to me.  So Lion set off, keeping close to my heels
all the way, clearly understanding that I was in future to be his

Mr Laffan was as eager to get back to the town as I was, in order to
hear the news.  We were still about half a league from Popayan, when we
saw, in an open space near a wood, a considerable body of men, some on
horseback, others on foot, with flags fluttering above their heads.  As
we approached, one of them rode out to meet us, in whom I recognised Don
Juan, though much changed in appearance.  Instead of his civil garb he
was dressed in military fashion, with a long lance in his hand, a
carbine at his back, and pistols in his holsters.

"I have not been idle, you see, Duncan," he observed, after we had
greeted each other.  "I have raised fifty fine fellows, and hope to have
a hundred more mounted and armed in a day or two.  If every gentleman
will do the same, we shall soon collect a Patriot force sufficient to
drive back the Spaniards."

We rode forward with him to see his troop.  The larger number were
mounted, but there were some infantry armed with long guns--tall, sinewy
fellows, dressed in broad-brimmed hats, loose trousers, and coats
fastened by pouch belts round their waists.  The horsemen also wore
large sombreros, leggings and huge spurs, and tight-fitting jackets; and
they were armed with spears and swords of various lengths.  Some had
pistols, others carbines, but the lance was the principal weapon.

We rode together into the town,--the infantry, who wore only sandals on
their feet, keeping up with the horses.  We were passing down one of the
streets on our way to a convent which the authorities had turned into
barracks, when a lady appeared at a balcony.  Juan reined in his steed,
and ordered his men to halt.  I recognised Dona Dolores.  My friend
bowed low, with a look of pride on his countenance.  Dona Dolores
smiled, and addressed a few encouraging words to the men, reminding them
of the cruelties which had often been inflicted by the hated Godos,
urging them to fight bravely, and not to sheathe their swords until they
had driven their foes into the sea.  The men cheered, and Dona Dolores
saying she would no longer delay them, we rode on.

The dominie and I parted from Juan at the next turning, and soon reached
home.  Finding that my father was just setting out to attend a large
party given at the house of Don Carlos Mosquera, one of the principal
inhabitants of the place, Mr Laffan and I hurriedly dressed and
accompanied him.  Though ostensibly a ball, the real object was to bring
persons of Liberal principles together, of both sexes.  As many of the
upper classes took a warm interest in the cause of freedom, nearly all
the ladies of the influential families were there, with their husbands
and fathers.  I was surprised, also, to see several parish priests, who
were as warm in the cause as any other person.  Indeed, one of these
padres had donned a semi-military costume, and announced his intention
of aiding his countrymen with his sword.  Those who knew him best said
that he could fight as well as he could preach.

I soon met Dona Dolores and her father.  She smiled, and beckoned me to

"I was glad to see you just now with Don Juan, and I hope that you will
obtain your father's leave to join his corps," she said.

I replied that I would gladly do so, but that at present my father
wished me to remain with him at Popayan.

While we were speaking Don Juan joined us, when Dona Dolores
complimented him on his zeal and activity in so soon getting together a
body of men.

"We have got the men, the arms, and the horses, but we all require what
cannot so readily be obtained--the necessary discipline," he answered.
"I myself require to learn the duties of an officer, for, except that I
can use a sword and lance, I know little of military affairs."

"You will soon learn, Juan," said Dona Dolores in encouraging tones;
"you must obtain an expert instructor, and your own natural talents will
point out to you how to act on most occasions."

Just then a military officer approached and bowed to Dona Dolores.  I
saw an expression of scorn pass over her countenance, unobserved by
Juan, who, saluting the officer, addressed him as Captain Lopez.

"The very man I want," observed my friend.  "I have just raised a body
of men, who require to be disciplined.  You have had experience; you
must join me, if you do not already belong to a regiment."

I did not hear the answer given by Captain Lopez, but Dona Dolores,
turning to me, said, "He is not to be trusted; a mean-spirited fellow,
though a great boaster.  You must tell Juan not to accept his services."

This Captain Lopez was, I afterwards found, a rejected suitor for the
hand of Dona Dolores.  With her clear perception, she had discovered
that he did not possess the qualities she could admire.

Juan and Captain Lopez had gone to some distance, and were engaged in
eager conversation.  During this time several persons had come up and
asked Dona Dolores to dance; but she declined, saying that she was in no
mood for such an amusement.  She contrived, however, to keep most of
them by her side for some time, while she urged on them the duty of
joining the Patriot cause.  I left her surrounded by a number of
gentlemen, and went to look after Juan, to whom I wished to repeat the
remarks I had heard from Dona Dolores.  I found him at length in an
alcove, still talking with Captain Lopez.  The captain's countenance, as
I watched him at a little distance, impressed me very unfavourably.
There was a scowl on his brow, and a peculiar wrinkle about his lips,
which made me feel that I for one would not trust him; and I hoped that
my friend would not be induced to do so either.

I waited until the captain quitted Juan, to whom I then went up, and
told him what Dona Dolores had said.

"She is too probably right, for she has wonderful perception of
character; but, unfortunately, I have engaged Captain Lopez to come and
drill my men, and I cannot now well put him off without his considering
himself insulted.  However, I will remember the warning I have received,
and not trust him too much.  I intend to bear the whole expense of the
corps myself, and am anxious to get some smart young officers.  I wish
that you would join us, Duncan.  You would soon learn your duties; they
come almost by instinct to some people."

"If I can get my father's leave, depend upon it I will," I answered;
"and as Mr Laffan has seen some service, I have no doubt that he will
assist you.  Perhaps he himself will join.  I suspect that he would be
as well able to drill your corps as Captain Lopez."

Several gentlemen present had been engaged in raising men; and, I was
told, there were already upwards of two thousand troops in town, though
few of them were sufficiently disciplined to meet the enemy.  Other
Patriot leaders were scouring the country round to obtain recruits, and
these, in small parties, were coming in during the night.

In spite of the serious aspect of affairs, the people at this ball
danced as much as ever.  The card-tables were also filled, but the
players stopped very frequently, forgetting the game to discuss matters
of importance.  I understood that there were men on the watch at the
doors, to give notice should any foes to the Liberal party make their

"I found, on our return home, that my father was pretty well satisfied
with the enthusiasm exhibited by the people generally.

"Bloodshed I fear there must be, for the Spaniards fancy that they can
overthrow liberty with a few blows, and are determined to stamp it out;
but they are mistaken," he observed.

From dawn the next morning, till nightfall, the new levies were
undergoing drill in the great square.  I saw Juan at the head of his
men, and Captain Lopez drilling them.

"Don't you think you can give my friend Juan a helping hand?"  I said to
Mr Laffan, who had accompanied me.

"Faith, it's not impossible!" he exclaimed, his eye brightening.  "If he
asks me, I'll try to brush up my knowledge of such matters."

I told Juan what the dominie had said, when he at once came forward and
begged that he would take charge of a part of his men.

"Is it the cavalry or the infantry?" asked Mr Laffan.

"The cavalry are the most important," answered Juan.  "Here is a spare
horse at your service."

Mr Laffan at once leapt into the saddle, and going to the head of the
men, formed them into line.  To my surprise, he gave the proper orders
in Spanish without hesitation, and soon showed that he had had no little
experience as a cavalry officer.  He kept the men at work for three
hours without cessation, after which they were dismissed for breakfast.
Captain Lopez cast a scowl at us as he passed on his way to his
quarters, without deigning to compliment Mr Laffan on his proficiency.
Juan accompanied us home to breakfast, and afterwards we returned to the
square, when, to my surprise, the dominie took the infantry in hand, and
drilled them for four hours in a still more thorough way even than he
had done the cavalry.

"If we had but a few British sergeants and corporals, we should make
something of these fellows in a few weeks," he observed.  "I would be
mightily obliged to the enemy if they would but wait till then; we
should by that time be able to give a good account of them."

Don Juan, as might have been expected, begged Mr Laffan to join his
corps, offering him the command of either of the companies.

"I am engaged to the doctor, and cannot quit his service unless he
dismisses me," he answered; "but, while I have the opportunity, I will
gladly drill your men for as many hours as they can stand on their legs.
Some years have passed since I have done any soldiering, and it makes
me feel young again to be so engaged."

While the levies were drilling, the townspeople--including old men,
women, and children--were employed, under the few officers who had any
knowledge of engineering, in throwing up batteries and forming
entrenchments round the town.  In some cases the walls were strengthened
by the aid of a machine, consisting of a large square bottomless box,
into which the mud was thrown, and then beaten down hard.  A number of
these boxes were used at a time, and it was extraordinary with what
rapidity a strong wall could thus be erected.  The mud was brought in
carts, in baskets, and in various other ways, and thrown into the box.
Additional strength was gained by forming a slope on the outer side.  A
number of guns buried on a former occasion by the Patriots, to conceal
them from the Spaniards, were also dug up, and mounted.  Night and day
the people worked, for every hour gained added to the strength of the
place, and increased the prospect of successfully resisting the enemy.

There were several known Royalists in Popayan, who had hitherto remained
quiet; and many of them, on seeing the preparations made for the
defence, hurriedly left the town.  Many Liberals also sent off their
families, to avoid the risk to which they would be exposed.  Among the
Royalists I met the Bishop of Popayan, Don Salvador Ximenes, mounted on
a splendid horse, and attended by his secretary and several
ecclesiastics--who, but for their hats, I should have taken for military
officers, for they were all armed to the teeth, and had a decidedly
martial aspect.  My father knew the bishop well, while I had often seen
him.  Though a somewhat small man, he was remarkably well-made, and had
a good-natured, open countenance, with sparkling grey eyes.  His
secretary was a tall, good-looking fellow, with a broad pair of
shoulders, but bearded like a pard, and looking little like a priest;
indeed, he had formerly been a captain of dragoons in Spain, until he
followed the bishop out to South America.  Don Salvador had been canon
of the cathedral at Malaga when Buonaparte invaded Spain.  On that
occasion, throwing off his ecclesiastical garb, he had assumed the rank
of a colonel, and by his preachings and exhortations he had aroused the
Spanish peasantry to resist the French.  On the restoration of Ferdinand
the Seventh to the crown of Spain, the _ci-devant_ colonel was created
Bishop of Popayan, then in possession of the Spaniards, where he had
made himself very popular among all ranks, notwithstanding his political

On meeting the martial-looking bishop and his companions, I felt sure
that his departure foreboded no good to the Patriot cause.  I bowed to
him as I passed, and he gave me a nod of recognition, although he was
well aware that I was not a member of his flock.

I at once rode on to Don Carlos Mosquera's house, to inform him of the
departure of the bishop, should he not be acquainted with it.

"Let him go," he answered.  "He will do more harm to liberty inside the
town than he will do without; and we cannot imprison him.  If he comes
as an enemy, a bullet may put a stop to his intrigues."

I frequently met Dona Dolores on the parade-ground, riding a handsome
horse, and attended by her father, Juan, and others.  She on several
occasions addressed the men, especially the new recruits, and urged them
to be faithful to the noble cause in which they were engaged.  She also
occupied herself in writing to Patriots in various parts of the country,
or to persons whom she hoped to win over.

While the citizens were working away in the town, scouts were sent out,
that we might have early notice of the approach of the enemy.  Several
days elapsed, however, without any news of their approach, and this
afforded time for fortifying the city and increasing the number of its
defenders.  So confident did the Patriots at length become, that it was
proposed to march out and encounter the enemy in the open country; but
wiser counsels prevailed.  Our men were ill-disciplined, and we had no

Upwards of a week had passed, when the scouts brought in the information
that the Spaniards were advancing.  Still two or three days must elapse
before they could reach Popayan.  The interval was spent in
strengthening the fortifications, and otherwise preparing for the
defence of the city.  Provisions were brought in, and gunpowder and shot
manufactured, while the drilling of the men went on as energetically as
at first.  White men, Indians, and blacks, all seemed to take a real
pleasure in their duties.  The army was certainly a motley one, both in
costume and colour, composed as it was of men of every shade from white
to black--the dark, however, predominating; several of the officers were
black, and others had Indian blood in their veins, if they were not pure
Indians.  Where all fight for liberty, however, the only qualifications
required for command are talent and courage.  Not a few even of the
highest rank could neither read nor write.

My father, I may here say, had half consented that I should join Don
Juan's troop, and had given leave to Mr Laffan to act as he felt

The enemy had now got within three leagues of the city.  Some deserters
who came in--or rather, I should say, some Liberals who had made their
escape from the Royalist ranks--informed us that they were not at all
prepared for the resistance they would meet with, as they were not aware
that the city was so strongly fortified and garrisoned.

Each night we went to bed expecting that the next day might be that of
battle; but I was one morning awakened by hearing all the bells in the
city ringing.  I jumped up, and going to Mr Laffan's room, found him
dressed, and in the act of buckling on his sword--afterwards sticking a
brace of pistols in his belt.

"I intend to join Don Juan," he said; "if I fall, Duncan, you will not
forget the instruction I have given you.  Good-bye, my boy; do you stay
quietly at home."

"Not if I can help it," I answered.  "Wait but five minutes.  My father
will not refuse me permission to assist in defending the walls."

I was quickly ready, and came downstairs to find my father.

"You cannot let me play a girl's part and stay at home!"  I exclaimed.
"Do let me go."

"I am afraid I should not be right in hindering you.  May Heaven protect
you!" answered my father.

"Thank you, thank you," I replied, as if the greatest possible favour
had been granted me; and I set off with Mr Laffan.

Mounting our horses, we rode to the lines, near which we found Juan's

"I hope we shall have an opportunity of making a sortie," exclaimed the
dominie; "we will put the Spaniards to the right-about if we get the
chance of taking them in flank."

While our servants held the horses, we went into the nearest battery,
from whence we could see the Spaniards advancing to the attack.  By the
way in which they came on, it was clear that they expected to enter an
unwalled town; and our batteries were so concealed that the enemy did
not discover their existence until close up to them, when we opened upon
them with every gun at once.  Their artillery replied, but their shot
struck our embankments; while ours flew into the midst of their ranks,
creating confusion and dismay.  Their infantry, however, advanced,
firing rapidly, and several of the defenders were hit; but this only
increased the ardour of the rest.  The whole south side of the city was
a blaze of fire, both parties rapidly exchanging shots.  The enemy,
however, soon saw that this general style of assault would not succeed,
and concentrated their efforts on the batteries defending the chief
entrance; but again and again were they driven back.

I had gone with Mr Laffan towards the eastern side, when, by means of
our glasses, we saw a large body of men, accompanied by artillery and
cavalry, making their way round, intending apparently to attack the city
on the other side.  On my conveying the information to our general, Don
Juan offered to lead out his men, and proceed by some by-paths through a
wood, so as to fall suddenly on the flank of the force--hoping to
capture the guns and put the enemy to flight.  This offer was accepted.

"You will accompany me?" said Juan to the dominie and me.

"With all the pleasure in the world," was the answer; and in another
moment we were riding out to the southward of the city--the part Juan
had selected for the ambush.  We were followed by a body of infantry,
who were to support us, for without them we could not secure the fruits
of our hoped-for victory.

The dominie was in the highest spirits, and could scarcely restrain
himself from shouting out in his glee.  Every now and then he gave a
flourish with his sword, as if well acquainted with its use.

On we dashed, over all impediments--our light-footed infantry not far
behind.  We had just time to reach the wood where we were to remain
concealed, and to give our horses breathing time, when we heard the
approach of the Spaniards.  We waited in perfect silence until their
cavalry had passed, when, Juan giving the signal, we dashed out from our
cover, taking them completely by surprise.  The gunners were cut down,
almost before they had time to draw their swords; after which we
immediately charged upon the infantry, who, though they received us with
an ill-directed fire, were at once thrown into confusion.  Meantime the
enemy's cavalry had wheeled about as fast as the narrowness of the road
would permit them, and came charging down upon us to attempt to
recapture the guns; but our infantry, who had now come up, poured in a
hot fire, by which a third of their saddles was emptied.  Unable to
ascertain our numbers, they must have imagined that they were being
attacked by a large force, and a panic seizing them, the survivors
galloped off to the south, leaving their guns in our hands, while the
infantry, whom we pursued, fled in disorder towards the main body.  We
followed, sabring all we overtook; when Mr Laffan advised Juan to
return, lest an attempt might be made to retake the guns, the most
important fruit of our victory.  Our foot-soldiers, however, had in the
meantime harnessed to them some of the slain troopers' horses, and when
we got back we found they were already half-way to the city.  In half an
hour we were triumphantly entering it; and dragging the guns up to the
batteries, we made use of them against their late owners.

In less than an hour after this the Spaniards were in full retreat.
Patriotic shouts rose on all sides, and the bells rang forth joyous
peals, while every man congratulated his neighbour on the victory

Don Juan did not fail to receive a reward for his gallantry in the
approving smiles of Dona Dolores.  It was his first battle, and he had
given proof that he was a brave and intelligent leader.  Congratulations
were offered him on every side, and all predicted that he would ere long
become one of the chiefs of the Republic.



Rejoicings for the victory we had gained were taking place when I
returned home, wearied by the fatigues I had gone through.  My father
was out attending to the wounded, of whom there were large numbers,
besides which many of the defenders had been killed.  It was still dark
when I was aroused by the ringing of the alarm-bells, and dressing
hurriedly, I ran to Mr Laffan's room.  He also had got up; and taking
our horses from the stable, we rode out to ascertain the cause.  We
found people in every direction hastening to the ramparts.  On reaching
the top of an embankment, we saw fires blazing up in several directions
to the north and east.

"These must be country-houses and farms which the Spaniards have set on
fire," observed my companion.

Several persons whom we found on the spot were of the same opinion.
Probably the cavalry who had escaped to the southward had returned, and,
in revenge, had set fire to all the residences they passed; or
detachments had been sent from the main body to lay waste the country.
As the more distant fires were in the direction of Egido, and Senor
Monteverde's hacienda, I felt very anxious about our family.

Had they had time to escape?  I knew too well that the Spaniards spared
neither sex nor age.  My hope, however, was that Uncle Richard would
have been on the watch, and have left the house in time--though that,
too probably, had fallen a sacrifice to the vengeance of the Spaniards.

In a short time I encountered Juan, who was anxious to march out and
attack the enemy; but the general, he said, had prohibited him from
doing so, "as his men were as yet too ill-disciplined for such an
undertaking, and would most certainly be defeated."

The alarm that another assault was about to be made proved false, as
scouts sent out reported that the enemy were still upwards of two
leagues from the city.  When daylight returned no Spaniards were in
sight, nor could any signs of them be seen from the highest point in the

Just as Mr Laffan and I returned home my father came in, tired out by
the arduous labours in which he had all night been engaged.  On my
telling him of the fears I entertained of what had happened at Egido,
he, after some hesitation, gave me leave to ride out and ascertain if
the inmates had escaped.

"I will go with you, Duncan," said Mr Laffan; "two heads are of more
value than one, and so are two swords, and if we fall in with enemies we
shall have a better chance of cutting; our way through them."

Anxiety concerning the fate of my mother and sister overcame my father's
scruples, so, mounting our horses, Mr Laffan and I rode out through the
eastern gate.  Our steeds were accustomed to the road, and we put them
to their best speed.

We had gone about two-thirds of the way, when Mr Laffan reined in his
horse, observing,--"We may be riding right into the middle of a
detachment of the Spaniards, if we go along at this rate.  More haste,
less speed!  A good soldier should feel his way, when an enemy is likely
to be in the neighbourhood."

We accordingly advanced more cautiously than we had done at first,
except when we could see our way for some distance ahead.  Our road ran
not far from the residence of Senor Monteverde; and in regard to it our
worst apprehensions were fulfilled.  The house had been burned to the
ground, the garden and the surrounding fields destroyed.  I regretted
that I should have such sad intelligence to convey to Dona Dolores.  A
glance was sufficient to show us what had been done, and as we galloped
on our anxiety increased lest Egido should have shared the same fate.

"We must be prepared for the worst," said Mr Laffan, as he pointed to a
column of smoke which ascended above the trees in the direction of

In a few minutes we reached the spot where the house once stood entire;
its blackened walls alone remained, the interior filled with heaps of
still smouldering embers.  The enemy had indeed made short work of it.
We found that the stables had escaped, but the horses had been carried
away, and not an animal of any description remained; nor could we see
any person moving about from whom to obtain information.  We searched
the out-houses, which were not harmed, and the ruins, as far as the hot
embers would allow, but we could discover no traces of bodies.

"The inmates must have got away before the enemy arrived," I exclaimed.

"I truly hope so," answered Mr Laffan, but he did not look very

"If they escaped, they would take the road to the mountains," I
suggested.  "Let us ride on in that direction; we may possibly meet with
some one who has seen them.  I cannot bear to return to my father
without some more hopeful information than we possess."

The dominie not objecting, we rode on.  However he very frequently stood
up in his stirrups to get a look round, fearing that we might be riding
into the lion's mouth.

We had gone some distance when we caught sight of a group of persons
collected on a slight elevation, from whence they could obtain a view
over the plain.  When they first discovered us, they showed some
disposition to conceal themselves, but on observing that we were but two
persons of fair complexion their fears apparently vanished, and they
remained waiting our approach.

I immediately inquired whether they had seen any fugitives from the
Spaniards making their way to the mountains.

"Yes, senor; many and good cause they had to run, for the Godos put to
death all they caught.  We ourselves got away just in time from our
cottage, which the cruel barbarians burned.  They would have killed us
had we remained."

I then asked if they had seen Don Ricardo--who was, I thought, probably
known to them--with a party of ladies, either on foot or horseback.

One of two men to whom I more particularly addressed myself answered
that they had, about daybreak, seen a party who had got some way up the
mountains, but they were too far off to enable them to distinguish who
they were.  More definite information they could not give us.

They were fine tall fellows, dressed in the universal broad-brimmed hat,
ponchos over their shoulders, and loose trousers--with, of course, bare
feet; while they were smoking in the most unconcerned manner, as if they
took their misfortunes lightly.

"Are you not disposed to punish those, who have destroyed your farm?"  I

I then told them of the corps which were being raised, and invited them
to join.  Their eyes brightened when I spoke of the possibility of
driving the Spaniards for ever from the country.  A woman who was with
them, and who had remained seated beside a basket of provisions, started
to her feet.

"Yes," she exclaimed; "we shall never enjoy peace or prosperity until
that has been accomplished!  Pepe!  Mariano! you will fight--we will all
fight--for so good a cause."

They agreed to come into the town after they had gone back to their farm
and endeavoured to recover any of the cattle, pigs, or poultry which had

"There is little chance of that; the thieves will have carried off
everything," observed the woman.

As we could gain no further information from these persons, we resolved
to try and make our way up the mountains, in the hope of either finding
our friends, or hearing from other fugitives where they had taken
shelter; but although we fell in with a few more people, our inquiries
proved unsuccessful.

We had ridden some distance, when the dominie, who could see well ahead,
exclaimed.  "We shall either have to hide ourselves or ride for it!
Those men are, I suspect, Spanish cavalry."

To hide ourselves, owing to the nature of the ground, was scarcely
possible, and almost before we had turned our horses' heads, the enemy,
for such undoubtedly they were, had discovered us.  Our animals, too,
from the rate at which we had come, were somewhat fatigued.  We had only
stopped once, to allow them to drink at a fountain.

"We must gallop for it," said Mr Laffan, "or we shall chance to be shot
or made prisoners by the Spaniards.  Keep a firm hand on your rein, and
do not spare either whip or spur.  On we go."  And digging spurs into
our horses' flanks, we galloped forward in the direction of the town,
with the Spaniards in full pursuit.

There were a dozen or more of them, but they were too far off to fire
with any chance of hitting us.  We had a fair start, too, but our horses
might come down, or we might encounter another party in front; still,
neither of us were inclined to yield until every hope of escape was

"On, on!" cried the dominie, feeling for the pistols in his holsters, so
that they might be ready at any moment.  "I intend to shoot one or two
fellows if they come near us,--and you must do the same, Duncan; but it
will be better to keep well ahead of them."

But the Spaniards' horses were fresh, and, led by a well-mounted
officer, they were gaining on us.  At last they got near enough to fire,
and several bullets whistled through the air; but we were still too far
ahead to run much risk of being hit.  The sound had the effect of
reanimating our horses, however, and they redoubled their efforts, their
nostrils snorting, their mouths and bodies covered with foam.  At length
the towers and steeples of the city appeared in sight.  If we could lead
the Spaniards up to the walls, they might, we hoped, be cut off.  We
shouted, therefore, in order to attract the attention of the sentinels.
Fortunately we had been observed, and so were the enemy, for as we got
in sight of the gate it opened, and out dashed a body of horse, led by
Juan.  It was now the turn of our pursuers to fly, and as we looked over
our shoulders we saw them wheeling round.  At length pulling rein, we
stood on one side, while Juan and his troop dashed by.  I should have
liked to have accompanied him, but our steeds, having once stopped,
could only just stagger on into the city.

In a short time Juan returned, having cut down eight or ten of the
Spaniards, when he had to gallop back on finding himself in the presence
of a vastly superior force.

The troops in the city, flushed with their success, were eager to be led
out against the enemy; but as they were chiefly raw recruits, the
general firmly refused to comply with their wishes.  The scouts brought
back word that the enemy were retiring rapidly, although in good order,
to the northward.  The object of this retrograde movement we could not
at first ascertain, but concluded that it was in consequence of other
Patriot forces gathering in their rear, and they were afraid of being
cut off from the capital.

Our numbers now daily increased.  The two peasants, Pepe and Mariano,
whom we had met, arrived with twenty companions,--tall, stalwart men,
who, with others like them, made excellent infantry.  Two regiments of
fairly disciplined troops also arrived, partly officered by Englishmen
and other foreigners; and it was now said that we should be able to take
the field, if necessary, to attack the Spaniards.

My father had, in the meantime, been fearfully anxious about Uncle
Richard's and our own family, but with the information the dominie and I
brought him his mind grew more tranquil.  As he had perfect confidence
in Uncle Richard's judgment and forethought, he came to the belief that
they had made their escape before the house was attacked.  I wished
again to set out in search of them, either by myself or with Mr Laffan,
and to bring them back into the city.  My father, however, not being so
confident as many other people that the place would not be again
attacked, said that they were safer among the mountains than they would
be did they return to the city.  "Uncle Richard," he said, "would
probably make arrangements to obtain provisions from his small farm,
which, being away from the highroad, the Spaniards would probably have
passed by without destroying."  He settled, however, to send Paul Lobo
with a mule loaded with warm clothing for the ladies, wine, and other
articles which they were likely to require.

"Depend on me, massa.  I find dem out, wherever dey are, and bring back
word," answered Paul, as he prepared to set out.

I occasionally saw Dona Dolores.  Juan, too, whenever disengaged from
his military duties, spent most of his time in her society, and,
imbibing the principles which animated her, became more and more
attached to the Patriot cause.

We had generally great difficulty in obtaining intelligence of the
movements of our friends in different parts of the country, as the
Spaniards did their best to capture, and invariably shot, every
messenger or bearer of despatches.  Indeed, they treated Patriots as
banditti beyond the pale of the law.  It must be owned, however, that
our party often retaliated on them in a fearful manner.

We were anxiously waiting for Paul's return, when information was
received that the Pastucians--the inhabitants of the province of Pasto,
some way to the south of Popayan, who, being completely under the
influence of the priests, had always opposed the Patriots--had risen in
arms, and were marching northward in large numbers.  They had been
induced to rise by no less a person than Don Salvador Ximenes, the
Bishop of Popayan; and it was said that that illustrious prelate, armed
cap-a-pie, and accompanied by his stalwart secretary, was at the head of
the Pastucian army.  At first the report was not believed, but our spies
corroborated it; so, as doubt no longer remained on the subject, it was
settled that the Patriot forces must immediately march to repel the
enemy, in order to prevent the southern part of our province being
overrun.  Our troops, now pretty fairly drilled, were eager for the
expedition.  We had a good body of infantry; our artillery was
represented by the three guns we had captured; and we had five hundred
cavalry, including Don Juan's troop--to which both I and Mr Laffan were
now regularly attached.

Early in the morning we marched out of Popayan, and as we surveyed our
forces, we, from the oldest to the youngest soldier, felt confident of

But I must rapidly pass over this time.  A march of several days brought
us in sight of the enemy, who lay encamped about two leagues from where
we halted.  They were posted in an advantageous position close to a
small village, with inaccessible heights behind them, a rapid stream in
front, and a defile on the south which could be held by a few men,
through which they might retreat if defeated.  We occupied a less
formidable position, but one which would enable the whole of our force
to act at once, should we be attacked.  Our men were in high spirits,
and as ready to attack the enemy's position as to defend their own,
should the Pastucians, taking the initiative, assault us.  Instead of
doing so, however, a flag of truce was sent into our camp from the
bishop, expressing his wish to prevent bloodshed by an amicable
arrangement of matters.  Our general replied that the surest way of
bringing this about was for his followers to return to their homes and

Several priests and others came with the flag of truce, under the
pretence of visiting their friends in our camp; and wonderfully busy
they were.  It was thought that an amicable arrangement would be arrived
at, and that both parties would march back without coming to blows.  So
friendly, indeed, were we, to all appearance, that the Pastucian
officers sent an invitation to the officers of the flank company of the
regiment of the Cauca to dine within their lines.  An English officer, a
Captain Brown, to whom I was paying a visit, and who was unwell at the
time, begged that I would go instead of him, as I might be amused--the
Pastucians having the credit of being a set of rough diamonds.

The next day about a dozen of us set out for the Pastucian lines, two
leagues off--Captain Pinson, the commander of the company, being our
leader.  We were all in good spirits, laughing and joking, and expecting
to be highly amused by our hosts.  I promised to give Captain Brown an
account of the party; but thinking it probable that there would be more
drinking after dinner than I should like, I had arranged to ride back
alone, and ordered my servant Antonio, who followed us, to have my horse
in readiness at about four o'clock.  The dinner-hour was to be two

The Pastucian officers, who were more than treble our number, received
us with every mark of courtesy, though a less attractive set of
gentlemen I had never met.  Indeed, they greatly resembled a party of
banditti.  Their complexions were swarthy, many of them having Indian
blood in their veins.  They all wore huge moustaches and beards, with
their long black hair either falling over their shoulders or fastened
behind in a queue, while their countenances were decidedly
unprepossessing.  They were, however, bland in the extreme, and had
provided abundant fare, although not cooked in the most refined style.
There was no want of wine and spirits, too, with which our hosts plied
us.  I remarked that there were two or three Pastucians between each of
the Patriot officers.

Dinner went on as usual, though it was somewhat prolonged.  Then
speeches were made, chiefly complimentary to each other, both parties
avoiding politics.  Songs were then sung, and more speeches made.

I, however, began to grow very tired of the affair.  I was seated, I
should have said, opposite to Captain Pinson,--placed in that position,
near the head of the table, in compliment to my father being an
Englishman.  While a song was being sung, I heard one of the Pastucian
officers near me say to a companion, looking meanwhile at Captain
Pinson, who had on a uniform with a large amount of lace about it, "I
have made up my mind to have that fellow's coat for my share."  As the
Pastucian officer appeared already to be half-seas over, I thought that
he had spoken in jest, or that I had misunderstood him.

On looking at my watch, I found that it was time for me to go, as the
hour at which I had ordered my horse to be brought had arrived; rising
from my seat, and going towards the window, I saw my servant leading my
horse backwards and forwards.

I was on the point of moving towards the door, hoping to leave the room
without being questioned, when I saw Captain Pinson start up; and
turning to the other Patriot officers, he exclaimed, "Gentlemen, we are
betrayed--treachery is intended--fly for your lives!"  As he said this
he drew his sword, when several of the Pastucian officers set upon him.
By a natural impulse I sprang towards the window, while I drew my sword,
intending to support my companions.  Captain Pinson had moved in the
same direction, that he might have greater scope for his weapon.  I was
soon convinced that he was not mistaken in his supposition that
treachery was intended, for three of the Patriot officers by this time
lay stretched on the floor, stabbed to the heart!  The rest had
endeavoured to rally near Captain Pinson, who called to them to make for
the door and cut their way out.  The Pastucians, who were mostly
powerful men, set so fiercely on us, however, that I saw there was but
little hope of this being accomplished, although Captain Pinson had
already killed two of them.  Pistols were drawn, and the bullets now
began to fly in all directions.  It would be difficult to picture a more
fearful scene.  The room was full of smoke; shouts and horrible oaths
arose; while the Pastucians rushed again and again at our little band,
on each occasion unhappily bringing to the ground one or more of our

I was fighting as well as I could by Captain Pinson's side, when he said
to me, "Save yourself if you can--quick!--through the window; all hope
is gone for us."  This, I feared, was too true; for just then
overwhelming numbers of Pastucians rushed into the room, armed with
spears and bayonets.  Half our number had already fallen dead on the
floor; most of the others were desperately wounded, as was Captain
Pinson.  I saw him plunge his sword into the breast of a third
Pastucian, who was making a lunge at me with a spear.  This decided me.
Though unwilling to desert my companions, I was convinced that the
destruction of the whole of us was intended, and that I should fall a
victim with the rest.  With one bound I leapt from the window, and
called to Antonio, who was on the point of galloping off.  He
immediately pulled up, and rode towards me.  A shower of bullets, fired
from the house, came rattling around; but in another instant I was on
horseback, and, with my faithful servant, galloping for my life.



Antonio and I had escaped the volleys fired at us, but we had yet to
pass through another shower of bullets.  The house at which I had dined
was not far from the lines, and the troops stationed there would
endeavour to stop us.  The gate, however, was open, to allow the passage
of some mules bringing in provisions.  The shots fired at us had scared
the guards, who could not make out what was happening; but before they
had time to close the entrance, we had dashed through.  In little more
than a minute the whistling of bullets passing our ears told us that the
sentries had discovered their mistake in allowing us to pass.  The rim
of my hat was shot away, and two of the leaden messengers passed through
my servant's jacket; but as neither ourselves nor our steeds were hit,
we were soon beyond range of the Pastucian lines.  We had, however, two
leagues to ride before we could reach the Patriot encampment.

The horrible treachery of the Pastucian officers showed that, even
though I had come under a flag of truce, it was very probable that other
parties of the enemy whom we might encounter would not scruple to shoot
us down.  I saw, therefore, that I must endeavour to avoid any of their
posts; not an easy matter, as all the roads would be guarded.  At
present, however, all we could do was to gallop on to the northward.  I
had fortunately noted the outlines of the mountains on either side as I
came along, and was thus able to direct my course.  From the unevenness
of the ground, we ran, at the rate we were going, a great risk of
falling; but it was not a time to stop at trifles.  Not only our own
lives, but the safety of the army, might depend upon our getting back.
There was no doubt that the Pastucians intended to attempt surprising
our forces; but this, if I should make good my escape, would be

Reaching the summit of rising ground, we now saw before us a Pastucian
outpost.  I could scarcely hope to pass through it without being
questioned, as the firing from the lines would have been heard, and its
cause suspected.  Our best chance of escape, therefore, was to leave the
road by turning to the right, and to make our way across the country.  I
looked behind, feeling sure that we should be pursued; but as yet no
enemy was in sight in that direction, nor were we perceived by those
ahead.  At first the ground was sufficiently even to allow us to
continue at full speed; but in a short time it became so rough that we
had to make our way with more caution, and finally we were compelled to
dismount and lead our horses over the rocks amid thick underwood.  We
had next to pass through a forest, which covered the side of a rising
ground, but here we gained the advantage of being concealed from our
enemies.  On emerging from the wood we saw below us a broad stream,
which separated the two armies; and once on the other side, we should be
in comparative safety.  My intention, therefore, was to gallop down the
bill, and at once to ford or swim the stream, in the hope that we might
reach the other side before being discovered by the enemy.

We had just remounted, when I saw to the left a considerable body of the
Pastucians, watching, I concluded, a ford in that direction.  To the
right the river went foaming and roaring over a rocky bed, but there
were one or two smooth-looking places, across which I thought it
possible we might pass.  The question, however, was whether we should be
able to reach a practicable spot before the Pastucians could come near
enough to fire at us.  To escape their observation was almost
impossible, so not a moment was to be lost.

"Now, Antonio," I said, "we must push on for our lives, and pray Heaven
that we may reach the bottom of the hill without breaking our necks;
then, at the first likely spot, we must push across the river.  Can you

"Si, senor, like a fish."

"Then, the instant our horses lose their footing, we must slip from
their backs and guide them across."

A momentary glance showed me that the Pastucians had seen us, and were
hurrying along the bank of the river to cut us off.  Keeping to the
right, therefore, we dashed forward, our horses frequently descending
several feet at a time, but alighting always on their legs.  It was
almost by a miracle that we reached the bottom of the steep hill.  We
then had to gallop along over rough ground until we came to a place
which afforded some prospect of crossing.  There was no time to survey
it narrowly, and leading the way, sure that Antonio would follow, I
plunged in--my horse stumbling forward some distance, so that I was
afraid he would lose his footing and be carried down the stream.  At
length he made a plunge, and his whole body sank under the water.  I
instantly threw myself off and turned his head up the current, holding
on by one hand to the saddle, while I swam with the other.  Antonio, in
the same fashion, followed close at my heels.  Below us, to the right,
was a roaring waterfall, threatening instant death to us should we go
over; but the sagacious animals seemed to understand their danger, and
did their utmost to keep away from it.

I could now see the enemy coming along the bank; they were holding their
muskets ready to fire directly they got within range of us.  The bank
for which we were making was steep, but still our brave steeds might
climb it, if not too much fatigued by their swim.  I shouted to Antonio
that we would lead them up, as we should gain in the end by it.

Most thankful was I when at length I found my horse beginning to walk,
and I soon set my own feet on the ground.  Even then it was no easy
matter to get along; while there was the risk that my horse, in his
struggles, would strike me with his hoofs.

We landed at last, and taking the reins, I dragged him up the bank.
Antonio followed closely.  Scarcely had we reached the top when we heard
the rattle of musketry, and several bullets struck the ground around us.
At some little distance, however, was a wood.  If we could gain it, we
should be in safety; for should the enemy attempt to swim across the
stream their muskets and powder would be damaged, while we should get
well ahead before they had time to construct rafts in order to ferry
them over.

We threw ourselves upon our horses; but scarcely had I got into my
saddle, when I heard a peculiar thud, and felt that a bullet had struck
me--whereabouts I could not for the moment tell.

"On, on!"  I shouted to Antonio.

"O senor, you are bleeding!" he exclaimed.

"I suppose so," I answered, "for I felt something strike me; but never
mind--on, on!"

We dashed forward; and I was in hopes that I might retain my strength
until we could reach the camp.  Another volley came rattling after us,
but we escaped being hit, and in a few seconds were in the midst of
trees, among which we made our way as fast as we could, frequently
having to leap or scramble over fallen trunks.  But nothing stopped us.
It was not likely that we should encounter any of the enemy on the side
we had gained; but still it was possible, and it was necessary to keep
our eyes about us.

I had been too much excited to feel any pain, but at length I began to
experience an uncomfortable sensation, though I would not consent to
stop and allow Antonio to bind up my wound.  I did not fancy, indeed,
that it could be very severe.

"Do, senor, allow me to bind your sash over the wound, or you will faint
from loss of blood; then it will be difficult to get you back," said

At length I yielded to his persuasions.  We both dismounted; and having
tethered our horses, he set scientifically to work to bandage my wound.

"It was high time to do this, senor," he observed; "a few more minutes,
and you would have had no more blood in your veins."

He tore off a piece of my shirt, and with a pocket handkerchief made a
pad, which he bound on my side.  This increased the pain, but at the
same time it stopped the flow of blood, which was running down my
trousers into my boots.  I then again mounted, though not without
difficulty, and rode on, doing my best to keep my saddle; but I had to
confess that I felt very weak.  Most thankful was I, therefore, when we
came in sight of our camp.  Some of the tents were pitched on a long
ridge, protected by mountains in their rear, while a steep bank sloped
down to the valley.  Other tents appeared to the right, also on elevated
ground.  Altogether, the position was one of considerable strength, and
well chosen.  Large numbers of troops were exercising in the valley

After passing the videttes, as we rode along the southern ridge,
overlooking this valley, we saw a horseman approaching us.  It proved to
be my _ci-devant_ tutor, Mr Laffan,--now holding the rank of captain.

"What has happened, my dear Duncan?" he exclaimed as he saw me.  "You
look as pale as death.  Why, you must be wounded; no doubt about it."

I gave him a brief account of what had happened; with which he was, of
course, horrified.

"We must get the doctor to you, in the first place; then you can make
your report to the general."

But just then we saw the general approaching, so we rode forward to meet
him.  He would at first scarcely credit the fearful account I had to
give; but it was confirmed by Antonio, who described how he had seen me
leap from the window, and how the Pastucians had fired at us.

"Have any of the officers escaped?" he asked.

I told him I was afraid every one had been killed.

"We must avenge them," he said; "such treachery deserves the most
complete punishment.  Now go, young senor, and get your wound looked
to," he added.

As I rode off, he summoned several of his staff, and issued orders to
prepare for an attack.

I was carried to Captain Brown's tent.

"I must look after you," said Captain Brown; "for had you not gone, I
should most certainly have been murdered with the rest of the poor

The news I brought naturally excited the greatest indignation,
especially amongst the officers and men of the regiment of the Cauca.
All hoped that the Pastucians would attack us that night.  The troops
were got under arms, and every preparation was made for the battle,
though the tents were allowed to stand, in order to deceive the enemy's

Juan, hearing that I was wounded, came to see me, and expressed his

"I thought I should have had you by my side in to-morrow's fight," he
said; "for, from what I can hear, if the Pastucians do not attack us we
shall attack them, and I hope to punish them severely for their
treachery.  It is in keeping with their character, and our poor fellows
should not have trusted them."

Neither Juan nor Mr Laffan could stay with me long, as they had to
attend to their men, and every officer was needed.  Captain Brown and
Antonio looked after me, however; and the doctor assured me that, if I
remained quiet, I might be able to sit my saddle again in a few weeks.

"A few weeks!"  I exclaimed; "I thought a few days would put me to
rights, doctor."

"For the sake of getting another bullet through you," he observed.
"Well, I will patch you up as far as I can; you must do as you think

I lay awake, expecting every instant to hear the rattle of musketry and
the booming sound of our field-pieces, but the night seemed to be
passing away quietly.  At last I dropped off to sleep.

"If the enemy intended a night attack, they had thought better of it
when they found that you had escaped and given us warning," said Captain
Brown, when he awoke me in the morning and gave me the breakfast that
Antonio had brought.  "When they do come, I must go out with my
regiment, whether ill or well; but you, Sinclair, must remain in camp--
you will be unable to sit a horse for many days."

From the excessive weakness I felt, I feared that he was right, but I
was much disappointed at the thought of being unable to take part in the
expected battle.

I had been sleeping for some time, when I was awakened by the sound of
firing.  No one was in the tent, for, in spite of his illness, Captain
Brown had joined his regiment and gone to the front.  Weak as I was, I
thought that I could manage to crawl up to some neighbouring height,
from whence I might see what was going forward.  The sound of the
rattling of musketry now came up the valley, with the louder boom of our
artillery, so I could resist the temptation no longer.  Supporting
myself on a stick, therefore, with a spy-glass hanging by a strap over
my shoulders, I left the tent and made my way on, sometimes crawling on
my hands and knees, until I reached a rock overhanging the camp, where I
could lie down and rest the glass on a ledge just above me.

Our troops crowned the heights of the opposite side of the valley.  It
was not of sufficient elevation, however, to prevent me seeing over it
on to the plain beyond, where the Pastucians were moving, endeavouring
to force their way to the northward--their main body attacking our
centre, while other divisions were marching to the right and left,
evidently with the hope of outflanking the Patriots.  I could clearly
distinguish the different corps.  The centre stood their ground.  Juan
with his cavalry drove back the enemy on the right; while the Cauca
regiment, charging, prevented the body threatening our left flank from
gaining the advantage they expected.

Frequently the Pastucians were so near that their shot came flying
across the valley; but, their powder not being of the best, the bullets
had by that time expended their force.  Among their leaders I saw
several friars; and, mounted on a fine horse, I recognised the bishop.
He and his stalwart secretary had crucifixes in their left hands and
bright swords in their right, which they kept vehemently flourishing.
Now the bishop would hold up his crucifix, and now point with his sword
at the Patriots.  Then the enemy, with shrieks and shouts, would charge
right up to our men; but on each occasion they were driven back with
dreadful slaughter.  Two or three monks were knocked over; still the
bishop and his lieutenant seemed to bear charmed lives.  Perhaps
superstition had something to do with it, and our men were afraid to
fire at a right reverend prelate.

At times I feared that the Patriots would give way, and on one occasion
the bishop and his followers had nearly succeeded in breaking our line;
but the regiment of the Cauca coming up, flushed with their previous
success, charged the enemy and drove them back headlong--the bishop and
his secretary, the ex-captain of dragoons, setting the example, and
scampering off at a rate which made it difficult to overtake them.  I
expected to see Juan's troopers in pursuit, but he was meanwhile hotly
engaged with a body of the enemy's cavalry, which after a sharp contest
he defeated,--though they rallied again to cover the retreat of the

Soon after this I lost sight of the main body of our army, which had
advanced; but small parties were seen coming to the rear, bringing in
the wounded.  I observed one party going towards the cavalry tents,
which were directly below me.  The men were carrying an officer on a
stretcher, and as I brought my glass to bear on them I saw, to my grief,
that the wounded man was Captain Laffan.  Anxious to low whether he was
much hurt, I immediately began my descent from the position, though in
doing so, in my weak state, I nearly rolled to the bottom.  Fortunately
I met one of the camp-followers, who assisted me along, and by his help
I got to Laffan's tent, and found my friend in the hands of the surgeon.

"You are where you should not be, young man!" exclaimed the latter when
he saw me.

"But I want to know how my friend is," I said.

"What, Duncan, my boy!" exclaimed the captain, who recognised my voice.
"I appreciate your kindness, but I wish you had remained in bed.  I have
only a bullet or two through me, and a sabre-cut on my arm dealt by one
of those six rascals whom I was attacking.  If there had been one less,
I should have cut them all down.  As it was, three bit the ground.
Don't fear!  I shall be all right, with a little plastering and
bandaging,--shall I not, doctor?"

"Yes, yes, captain, you'll do very well; but you must keep quiet for a
few hours.--And you, Mr Sinclair, must get back to your tent."

I endeavoured to obey the surgeon, but, overcome with exertions for
which I was ill-fitted, I sank down in a dead faint.

"Now this is too bad of the boy, when I want to be attending his
friend," I heard the doctor say, after he had poured some cordial down
my throat, which somewhat restored me.  On this, two men whom he
summoned took me up and carried me back to Captain Brown's tent.

Towards evening, a portion of our troops returned to guard the camp, but
the main body was advancing in pursuit of the Pastucians.

The next day less satisfactory news arrived.  The enemy had been
reinforced, and the Patriot army had had no little difficulty in
maintaining its position.

The surgeons now advised that the wounded officers who could bear the
journey should be carried back to Popayan; and as neither Captain Laffan
nor I were likely to be fit for duty for some time to come, we gladly
availed ourselves of the opportunity.  We were put into litters hung on
long poles, supported on men's shoulders; and the journey occupied
several days, though I can give very little account of it.  Some of the
time, indeed, I was in a semi-somnolent state, caused by weakness.

The only striking scene I can recall was our passage on a bamboo bridge
over a river in our course.  The army had crossed by a ford lower down,
where the water was shallow and the current slight.  Here it was of
great depth, and the banks of considerable height.  As I looked at the
slight structure, however, it appeared to me incapable of bearing more
than the weight of a single man, while a few cuts with a manchette would
have sent it into the torrent below.

I heard Captain Laffan, who was in advance of me, cry out to his
bearers, "You don't mean to say that we are to go over that spider's-web
affair!  Why! it looks as if it would give way with the weight of that
woman going along it."

"Have no fears about the matter, senor captain; cavalry have charged
over it before now," was the answer.  And, in spite of the captain's
protestations, his bearers tramped on and crossed in safety.

I followed, and though the bamboos creaked ominously they held fast, and
no accident occurred to any of the party.  It was along such a bridge as
this that the gallant Colonel Mackintosh rode at full gallop, when
leading on his brave Albions to the capture of La Plata, some time

The path we took would only allow of one litter passing at a time, and I
had no conversation with the rest of the party; so, when we stopped at
night, Laffan ordered his litter to be placed alongside mine.  He was in
excellent spirits, and seemed to feel his several wounds scarcely so
much as I did the single one I had received.

"You are not so well accustomed to it, my boy, as I am.  I have no extra
flesh to be annoyed, you see; and my parchment-like skin soon unites,"
he observed, laughing.

At last we arrived at Popayan.  My father looked somewhat horrified when
he saw me and heard of my narrow escape.

"I am sorry I allowed Mr Laffan and you to go," he said.  "However, you
are here now, and I hope you will soon be brought round."

"Faith, doctor, but I'm mighty glad to have seen a little more service;
and as soon as you can patch me up I'll be off again to fight for the
right cause!" exclaimed our Irish friend.

I inquired for my mother and the rest of our relations.

"Paul Lobo," said my father, "discovered them in a hut among the
mountains.  They were all very well, and in tolerable spirits, only
somewhat anxious about us.  I have sent him back again with a load of
necessary articles; and if we receive satisfactory accounts from the
army, I trust that they will return as soon as they grow weary of their
rough life.  Uncle Richard, however, takes very good care of them, and
obtains abundance of provisions; but they intend, at all events, shortly
to return to the farm, from whence, should the Spaniards again overrun
the country, they can make good their retreat."

Under my father's careful treatment Mr Laffan and I soon regained our
strength, and we became eager to rejoin the army.  My father, however,
declared that I was not in a fit state to be exposed to the hardships
which I should have to endure; but that Mr Laffan might do as he liked.

The news from the south was not altogether satisfactory.  Although the
Patriots had hitherto been successful, the Pastucians had doggedly stood
their ground, and had retreated slowly--probably with the intention of
drawing them into some defiles, where they might be attacked from the
heights.  At this period intelligence was received that the Spaniards
were again advancing from the north.  On hearing this, the commandant of
Popayan immediately sent a despatch entreating the general to return.
Instead, however, of the whole army coming, only a few made their
appearance to assist in the defence of the town.  At the same time,
troops had been collected from all quarters, and every effort had been
made to bring them into a state of efficiency.  Our uncle, Dr Cazalla,
was one of the most active in preparing for the defence of the place.
He had established a manufactory for gunpowder, on a plan devised by
himself.  It was one of the articles most required.  He had also taught
all the blacksmiths who could be found how to repair muskets, and some
of the most expert even how to manufacture them.

"It is a sad way of employing our strength and talents," he observed to
my father.  "The same exertions rendered to the cause of peaceful
industry, might make this country rich and flourishing, instead of which
all our energies are being expended in killing one another.  Still, we
are fighting for the advantage of our children; but the ruin this war
has brought upon the country cannot be repaired during our lifetime."

The officer now in command of the city had seen no service.  He may have
been a very worthy man, but he was a bad general.  I have described the
chief square of the town.  Most of the houses in it had been turned into
barracks, the owners having fled, some because they were Royalists, and
others in order to avoid the risk they would incur should the place be
captured by either party.

I was now nearly quite well, as was also Mr Laffan, and he had
determined to set off next day to rejoin Juan's corps.  He had, however,
over-estimated his strength; for that very evening, on returning home,
he was seized with a fever.  My father insisted that he should at once
go to bed.  "If you do not," he said, "I will not answer for your life."

The dominie obeyed, but very unwillingly.  His illness however, as was
proved in the sequel, was the means of saving his life.  I had gone one
afternoon with my father to visit some Royalist friends living in the
great square, who had had the courage to remain in the town.  My father
had attended the family, and not long before had been the means of
curing Don Cassiodoro de Corran of a dangerous disease.  Though a
Spaniard, he was very liberal, and, being respected by all parties, he
ventured to remain, and the Patriots had not molested him.  The young
ladies of the family were playing on their guitars, and two or three
other people having come in, we were proposing a dance, when we were
startled by the sound of musketry.  Presently we heard shouts and cries,
and the trampling of horses coming down the principal street leading
from the northern gate.

"The Godos! the Godos! the hated Spaniards!  The enemy is upon us!"
shouted the people, as they rushed across the square.

Unfortunately, the principal officers of the troops were in different
parts of the town, paying visits or amusing themselves.  The soldiers,
without proper leaders, seized their arms and turned out, some coming
without ammunition, others leaving their bayonets or swords behind them.
They then attempted to form under their sergeants and such officers as
remained, but, being ill-disciplined, all was done in a hurry and
without order; and many, seized by a panic, made their escape.

Antonio, who, I should have said, had accompanied me, rushed into the
house and begged me to fly.  My father, however, insisted that I should

"You can do nothing, and will certainly lose your life," he said.

Antonio, who was a brave fellow, hastened out again to join his
comrades.  I could not, however, resist going to the window to see what
was taking place.  Presently a large body of Spanish cavalry rode into
the square, putting to flight the soldiers they first encountered, who,
scattering in every direction, attempted to seek safety in the houses.
Among others I caught sight of Antonio, who was making towards the house
he had so lately left, hotly pursued by a Spanish colonel.  I
determined, if possible, to save Antonio, and asked Don Cassiodoro to
speak to the colonel.  He was about to do so, when Antonio stopped and
cried out--

"I will surrender, senor colonel, if you will spare my life."

"Well, well! trust to me," was the answer.

But as the Spaniard spoke he drew a pistol from his holster; on which
Antonio, expecting the next moment to be a dead man, made a lunge at him
with his long lance, the point wounding the colonel, who the next moment
rolled from his horse.  Our hero, as may be supposed, did not stop to
help him up, but leaping on his steed, galloped off, master of a good
horse and all the colonel's appointments.  As he passed our windows he
waved his hand to me, and disappeared like lightning down the street.  I
had great hopes that he would make his escape before the main body of
the Spaniards could enter.

Don Cassiodoro, on seeing the colonel on the ground, went out with my
father and brought him into the house, that his wound might be attended
to.  The spear had torn his coat, but, excepting a slight scratch on the
side, had not otherwise harmed him.  He begged, however, that his wound
might be dressed; when Don Cassiodoro advised that he should go to bed,
which he appeared very willing to do.

I waited, in hopes that the Patriot officers would rally the troops and
drive out the Spaniards before the arrival of the main body; for, after
all, those who had entered formed but a small party, and were
unaccompanied by infantry.  So completely panic-stricken, however, had
our men become, that it was found impossible to make head against the
Spaniards; indeed, a considerable number of them had fled from the town.
Most of the officers, as well as the men, saw that their wisest course
would be to retreat to the southward, where they could join the army.
Thus Popayan once more fell into the hands of the Spaniards.



A reign of terror now commenced in Popayan.  The city was filled with
Spanish troops, which took up their quarters in the houses lately
occupied by the Patriots.  A considerable number of the latter made
their escape, but numbers were cut down in the streets, and others were
captured and thrust into prison.  The square was literally strewed with
the dead.

My father proposed to return home, but Don Cassiodoro insisted that he
should remain.

"You will be safe here," he said; "for no one will suspect me of being
capable of harbouring disaffected persons; and I owe you a debt of
gratitude, which I can only partially repay by concealing you from your

"But I am a non-combatant, and it is my duty to attend to the wounded,"
said my father.

"Can you say as much for your son?" remarked Don Cassiodoro.  "Besides,
you would have no opportunity of attending to your duties, as you would
be immediately seized and sent to prison.  General Calzada has been
directed by Murillo to capture all suspected persons, and to forward
them to Bogota for trial--and I may say, for execution.  Be advised by
me--remain in safety here.  When you are not found at your house, it
will be supposed that you have fled from the city, and the search after
you will be relaxed."

My father at length consented to follow the advice of Don Cassiodoro,
who promised to keep him informed of all that was taking place.  There
was, however, a risk that the Spanish colonel, whose wound he had
dressed, would inform against him.  The only hope was, that the colonel,
who was a stranger, did not know who he was, as he spoke Spanish like a
native, and Don Cassiodoro had introduced him as his family physician,
without mentioning his name.

I had, by my father's directions, resumed my civilian dress, as had also
Mr Laffan, who was, I should have said, at this time safe in our house.
There was, however, much probability that the Spanish soldiers, on
entering to plunder the house, might wantonly kill him, and burn it

That night, it may be supposed, was one of intense anxiety.  We could
gain no tidings of any of our friends, for had we gone out the danger
would have been great, as the Spanish soldiers were ranging through the
town, constantly firing at the windows of houses supposed to be
inhabited by Patriots, and killing all the persons they met with in the
streets.  We were especially anxious about our uncle, Dr Cazalla, and
also about Senor Monteverde and Dona Dolores.  They had all been in the
city on the previous day, and, we feared, could not have been warned of
the entry of the Spaniards in sufficient time to make their escape.

All night long the sounds of shots were heard in different parts of the
town, and fearful shrieks and cries arose as some of the unfortunate
citizens were being dragged forth from their dwellings, including old
men, women, and even little children, to be slaughtered by the savage
soldiery; while here and there great sheets of flame shot up, showing
that a number of houses had been set on fire.  Such were the terrible
scenes which took place, not only at Popayan, but in nearly all the
principal towns of the province, when they fell into the hands of the

A guard had been placed at the door of Don Cassiodoro's house by General
Calzada, under the plea that a Spanish officer lay wounded within.  The
house was thus, indeed, safe from attack, but we were effectually
prevented from going out to obtain intelligence.

Towards morning the trumpet sounding recalled the soldiers to their
quarters, and we could distinctly see them crossing the square laden
with plunder.  The Spanish general, having frightened the inhabitants
into something like submission, was now endeavouring to restore order
among the troops.  Had the Patriot army been near enough to enter the
city during the night, they might have retaken it, and captured or
destroyed every one of their enemies.

The next day the Spanish colonel, feeling himself very well--indeed, his
wound was of the most trivial nature--desired to go forth, that he might
visit the general and report his proceedings.  Don Cassiodoro, who was
anxious to get rid of him, did not object, and the colonel took his
departure.  As soon as he was gone, I begged that my father would allow
me to go and learn what had become of Mr Laffan, Dr Cazalla, and other

"But you will run a risk of being captured, if not of being injured or
killed," said my father.

I told Don Cassiodoro what I wished to do, and one of the young ladies
suggested that I should put on the livery of a stable-boy who happened
to have been sent away into the country sick some time before.  I gladly
accepted the proposal, and Jose's dress being procured, I found that it
fitted me exactly.  Don Cassiodoro charged me to refrain from answering
questions; but if pressed, I was to say I was one of his servants.  It
was proposed that I should wait until the evening, as there would be
less risk of being recognised; but dressed as I was, I thought that no
one could possibly know me: besides, poor Mr Laffan might in the
meantime be starving.  Before leaving, I filled my pockets with
eatables, supposing it likely that all the provisions in the house had
been carried away.

Taking a whip in my hand, I went out by a side door when no one was
near, and then walked along with as jaunty an air as I could assume.  A
number of people of the lower orders were moving about, but none of the
citizens who had escaped were anywhere to be seen.  There were also
soldiers with parties of slaves or Indians, whom they were compelling to
carry off the dead bodies in order that they might be buried outside the
town.  Foraging-parties had also been sent out, and were now returning,
driving in the peasantry with provisions, for the general had given
orders to establish a market in the place.  The crowd was an advantage,
as I was able to make my way without being noticed.

I hurried on, and soon reached our own house, which appeared not to have
been entered.  All the doors and windows were fast closed, though I saw
that they had been struck by several musket-balls.  Going round to the
courtyard, I climbed over the gate, a feat I had performed often before.
I knocked gently, when a bark from within assured me that Lion was
acting as guardian of the house.

"Who's there?" asked a voice which I recognised as that of Mr Laffan.

"Duncan," I replied; and presently I heard the bolts withdrawn.  Mr
Laffan started back, for he did not recognise me; but Lion, rushing past
him, began to leap up and lick my face and hands.

"For the moment I didn't know you, Duncan," said Mr Laffan.  "Thankful
I am that you have escaped; for I have been in a mighty fright about you
and your father since the Spaniards entered the place.  Come in, come
in, and tell me all about it."  I then went in, and he again closed and
bolted the door.

"We have been equally anxious about you," I replied; "how did you

"By bolting all the doors so that the villains could not break them open
without a battering-ram, then hanging a British flag out of the window
and shouting, `Vive el Roy!  If any one comes in here, he will bring
down the vengeance of England on his head.'  I don't know which had the
most effect, the flag, the loyal shout, or the threat of vengeance, but
one party after another of the rascals turned away; so, you see, if you
and your father had been here you would have escaped.  Poor Lion and I,
however, have been somewhat on short commons.  I shared what I could
find in the house with the faithful brute, as was but fair."

"I suspected that such might be the case," I said, producing what I had
brought in my pockets; of which Mr Laffan eagerly ate a portion, and
bestowed the rest upon Lion, who gobbled it up in a few seconds, showing
how hungry he was.  As what I had brought could do little more than
stimulate their appetites, I offered at once to go out and buy some
provisions, which I could do very well in my character of a stable-boy.
Fortunately I had some money in my pocket.  I started immediately,
intending afterwards to visit Dr Cazalla, as also the house in which
Senor Monteverde and Dona Dolores had been residing, although I did not
expect to find any of them.

As I was proceeding along the streets, I saw an old black man.  His only
clothing was a broad-brimmed hat, and a pair of loose drawers fastened
round his waist by a girdle, to which was hung his manchette.  He came
along driving a mule laden with bamboo-canes, such as are constantly
sold in the town for piping and other purposes.  I was going to pass
him, when I saw him look very hard at me, and heard him utter my name in
a low tone of voice, which I thought I recognised.  A smile passed over
his countenance, and on looking round and observing no one near, he

"I am better disguised dan you, Senor Duncan."

By his voice I at once recognised Paul Lobo.

"Are my mother, sister, Don Ricardo, and the rest well?"  I asked.

"Yes, yes, I hab a good account to give ob dem," he replied; "but tell
me, has el senor doctor escaped, and is de house safe?"

"Yes," I replied.

"Den come on with me, for I hab much to tell you, and we may be
discovered if seen speaking here."

I said that I had to go to the market and obtain some food, and that I
wished to inquire about my uncle, Dr Cazalla, and the Monteverdes.

"Buy de food, by all means, but do not venture to make furder inquiries;
I can tell you all you want to know," he said.

Seeing some one approaching, he drove on his mule, singing out, "Who
wants to buy canes--sound straight canes?" though he did not stop for
any one to answer him.

I hastened to the market-place.  Provisions were but scant, the soldiers
having appropriated most of what was brought in.  However, I got as much
as I wanted, although I nearly betrayed myself by the ignorance I
displayed in making my purchases.  With a basket on my shoulder, which I
had bought, I returned homewards.  Several persons cast inquiring
glances at me; and a Spanish sergeant eyed me very narrowly, I thought.
But I went whistling along, as if free from care, and he did not stop to
put questions to me.  I was thankful when I got back to the courtyard,
where I found Paul Lobo standing by his mule.  Both he and Mr Laffan,
and Lion too, were very glad to get some of the provisions I had

"And now, Paul," I said, "what information have you to give me?"

"Berry sorry to say, not good.  I hear as I come 'long dat all de gates
are guarded, so dat no one can go out ob de city; dat de general gib
orders to take up eberybody in de place who can read and write, no
matter who dey are.  They hab already got hold ob el senor Doctor
Cazalla, Senor Monteverde, and his daughter.  General Calzada, him
pretty good man and not like to shoot people, so dey send dem all to
General Murillo at Bogota; and he, dey say, kill for de pleasure ob
killing.  Depend 'pon it, dey come to look for senor doctor; so he mus'
hide away, and not show his face till de Patriots come back--and dat dey
do, I hope, 'fore long."

"This is indeed bad news; I will go back to my father and tell him what
you say, Paul," I answered.  "But do you think it would be possible to
rescue Doctor Cazalla and the Monteverdes?"

Paul replied that they had already, from what he could learn, been sent
out of the city, and were on their way to Bogota.

I proposed to hasten immediately to the army and let Juan know, in the
hope that, by a forced march, he might be able to intercept the escort
and rescue the prisoners.  But both Paul and Mr Laffan declared that it
would be impossible: that I could not obtain a horse, as the Spaniards
had taken possession of all those found in the city; and that if I could
get one, I should not be able to pass through the gates of the city.

We talked over the subject, but could think of no plan likely to
succeed.  I was in despair.  I felt, however, that I must immediately
return to my father and give him the information Paul had brought; he
would, perhaps, be able to devise some plan more likely to succeed than
any I could form.  As it was certain that our house would be searched, I
advised Mr Laffan to try and gain some place of concealment where he
and Lion might remain, assuring him that Paul Lobo would find the means
of supplying them with food.

"No, no; I'll stop and defend the house to the last.  The plundering
rascals will hesitate before they attempt to break-in," he answered.
"We have four muskets and three brace of pistols, and I shall be able to
give a good account of a dozen or move of them if they make the attempt.
If they come with authority to search for your father, I intend that
they shall find me seated at table writing despatches to the English
Government; and I shall have the same flag I used before hung over my
head.  If they inquire for the doctor, I'll tell them the fact, that he
left this house some hours before they came into the city; and that if
he has a swift horse, he is probably leagues away to the north, south,
east, or west, to join his family.  If that does not satisfy them, I'll
shrug my shoulders, send a puff of smoke in their faces from my cigar,
and go on writing my despatches."

I could not help laughing at the honest Irishman's coolness.  His plan
seemed the best that could be adopted, and I hoped that it might
succeed.  Paul said he should remain with his mule in the courtyard, and
should the Spaniards come to the house, he would move away crying his
wares, hoping thus to escape being questioned.

Fortunately I had told neither Mr Laffan nor Paul that my father was at
Don Cassiodoro's; although, seeing me in the livery of that family, they
might have suspected where he was.  As it was important to get back to
Don Cassiodoro's without delay, and finding that no one was near, I
slipped out at the gate, and passing along some back streets, made my
way to his house.

My father was greatly grieved when he heard that Doctor Cazalla and the
Monteverdes had been arrested and sent off to Bogota.  He was too well
acquainted with General Murillo's bloodthirsty nature not to feel the
greatest possible fear for their safety.

"That Spanish tiger has sworn to stamp out every spark of liberty in the
land, and to destroy all those who are capable of rekindling it," he
observed; "we must, however, try what can be done.  Let me consider."

He was silent for a quarter of an hour or more.  At last, looking up, he
said, "Duncan, I can trust to your judgment and energy, and also to
those of Mr Laffan.  I will send you and him to Bogota, with letters to
various friends who are likely to interest themselves on behalf of the
prisoners.  They may be the means of preserving their lives for the
present, and of ultimately obtaining their liberty."

"I am ready to start this instant," I replied; "so is Mr Laffan, I am
sure, for the excitement he has gone through has cured his fever.  We
may push on ahead, and get there before them."

"Neither are you nor Mr Laffan in a fit state to make a forced march,"
he answered; "you must preserve your health, else you may be unable to
render the service you desire.  I intend that you should travel in the
character of a young English gentleman, with Mr Laffan as your tutor.
You must speak no Spanish; and he knows quite enough to get on perfectly

We had just arranged the whole plan, and I had agreed to go back and
explain it to Mr Laffan, when Don Cassiodoro hurriedly entered the

"My dear doctor," he exclaimed, "some Spanish officials are at the door,
and from the information I have received I fear that they have come to
arrest you.  Follow me instantly.  Take up these writing materials and
everything that belongs to you; there's not a moment to lose.  Let your
son come too; were he to be seen, they would at once conclude that you
were here."

Don Cassiodoro leading the way, my father and I followed him to an upper
story, and entered an unfurnished room.  "If the don requires us to stay
here, we shall certainly be discovered," I thought.  But I was mistaken.
Drawing aside a panel in the wall, he disclosed a recess; then pointing
upwards, he showed us a broad shelf at the top.

"How are we to get up there?" asked my father.

Don Cassiodoro pulled down a small ladder.  "Draw this up after you," he
said, "and place it along the side.  You will find that there is a cover
which may be let down, and which will completely conceal you.  Should
those seeking you chance to discover the panel and enter the recess,
they might search round it, and yet not suppose that you were within."

My father wrung the don's hand and expressed his gratitude.  We
immediately climbed up, and drawing the ladder after us, then let down
the lid,--for so I may call it,--which made the surface look exactly
like a broad beam running from one side of the house to the other.  A
more perfect hiding-place could scarcely have been devised, as no
stranger, unless treachery had been at work, was likely to discover it.

We heard Don Cassiodoro's footsteps as he descended the stairs.  Soon
afterwards voices from below reached us.  The door of the room had been
ostentatiously left open.  Don Cassiodoro's voice rose above that of his
unwelcome visitors as he complained of the insult offered him, and at
the want of confidence placed in his loyalty.  The officers must have
been, by some means or other, informed that my father was in the house,
as they persisted in searching every room.

"He is nowhere below, but we shall probably unkennel him in the upper
story," I heard one of them say as they mounted the stairs.

They at last entered the room.

"Where can that rascally English doctor be?" exclaimed one of them.  "He
was too wise to hide in his own house; but if he is not here, where is

"Never fear, we shall catch him somewhere," observed another; "and we
shall have the pleasure of seeing the Republican heretic shot, to repay
us for our trouble."

From these remarks I knew that our house must have been searched
directly after I left it, and that I had had a very narrow escape.  I
was in hopes that something would have been said to inform me of what
had happened to Mr Laffan; but no remark was made on the subject.  I
could only hope that Mr Laffan's plan had succeeded, and that they had
been afraid to touch him.  The long-coated, grave-looking dominie would
never have been suspected of having lately acted the part of a dashing

We lay listening and perfectly still, for as we could hear everything
that was said, we knew that the slightest noise might have betrayed us.

"Are you convinced, gentlemen, that the English doctor is not here?"  I
heard Don Cassiodoro ask.  "Now, I desire you to apologise to me for
your intrusion.  The general knows best whether it would be politic to
shoot a skilful surgeon and an Englishman, who is willing and able to
heal the wounds of the loyal subjects of King Ferdinand as well as of
rebels.  My belief is, that although he may love liberty in the
abstract, he is too much engaged in his professional duties to interfere
in any way in politics."

At length we heard the front door close, and Don Cassiodoro returned to
the recess to tell us that we might come down, but that my father must
be ready to return to his place of concealment at a moment's notice.
"And you, young sir," he said, turning to me, "it will be wise in you to
keep out of the way of General Calzada; for, should he find out whose
son you are, he might seize you as a hostage for the doctor."

On this, my father told Don Cassiodoro that he was anxious to send me
and my tutor to Bogota, and that under the circumstances it would be
safer for us to travel under assumed names.

Don Cassiodoro at once agreed to render all the assistance in his power;
for he saw that the sooner I could set off the better.  So, in the first
place, as it was necessary to obtain a couple of horses, he immediately
undertook to supply us from his own stud, and also to advance any money
we might require.

While my father was writing the letters, I hastened back to our own
house, being still dressed as a groom.  I found Mr Laffan seated at the
table as he proposed, with a flag over his head.  The house, as I had
fully expected, had been visited and searched, but had not been
plundered.  Probably the officers had been forbidden to plunder it, in
order that my father might be the more easily enticed back.

On hearing the proposed plan, Mr Laffan sprang to his feet, and
declared that he was ready at once to proceed.  The question was, What
was to be done with the house?

"Leave dat to me," said Paul; "me find honest woman who fight like one
panther 'fore she let any one come into de house."

As a precautionary measure, we concealed all the most valuable articles
we could find; leaving, however, a few silver forks and spoons to
mislead plunderers, who might suppose that they were the only things in
the house worth taking.

The dominie--for so I may again call him--having dressed in as
appropriate a style as possible, as the tutor of a young English milord,
and Lobo having warned us that the coast was clear, we left the house to
proceed to a posada where Don Cassiodoro had arranged to send the
horses.  I carried the valise containing Mr Laffan's wearing apparel.
My own was in the provision-basket on my back.  The load, I must say,
was rather a heavy one.  Lion rushed out with us.  At first I thought of
leaving him as a guard to the house, but he seemed to have made up his
mind to come, and Mr Laffan advised me to take him.  "The noble brute
may render us good service on our journey, and I would sooner have him
than half a dozen guards, who would be very likely to rob us, or run
away if we were attacked."  Lion wagged his tail and showed every sign
of satisfaction when he understood that I intended to take him with me.

On arriving at the posado, the dominie put a piece of money into my
hand, as if to pay me for having carried his valise; and I heard him
tell the landlord that he was waiting for a young English milord, who
was anxious to return home by way of Bogota.  I then hurried back to Don
Cassiodoro's, where I resumed my proper costume.  To prevent my being
recognised, my father had provided a pair of huge whiskers and
moustaches, and by careful painting he made me look considerably older
than I was.  With the aid of a few additions to my costume, I certainly
looked as I had never done before.  Even the young ladies, when I came
downstairs, did not at first recognise me.  My father, having given me
all needful instructions, supplied me with a purse and the letters he
had written; while Don Cassiodoro put into my hands a passport, which he
had obtained at considerable risk of implicating himself.  He then
ordered a servant to strap my valise on the saddle of my horse, while
another mounted servant led the horse intended for the dominie.

"That man is as true as steel," observed Don Cassiodoro.  "You cannot
proceed without an attendant, and I have directed him to accompany you.
You will find Domingo of the greatest use.  He believes you to be what
you profess to be.  I have charged him not to let it be known that he is
in my service, so as to prevent inconvenient questions."

We reached the posada without being stopped.

"I am so glad my dear young lord has come," said the dominie, turning to
the host; "for though the Royalists have gained the day at present, we
do not know how soon those dreadful Republicans may have the upper

"Truly, truly," answered the landlord, bowing to me.  "Milord will be
glad to return to England, where all, I am told, are true Royalists."

"Milord does not understand much Spanish," observed Mr Laffan; "we must
wish you farewell."

As we might have risked discovery by further delay, we rode forward;
Domingo, armed to the teeth, following us.  Mr Laffan, I found, had two
brace of pistols in his holsters, and a sword, which he kept concealed
under his cloak.  I, of course, carried one in my character of a young
gentleman of fortune, and I also had a brace of pistols; so that we were
tolerably well-armed.  Mr Laffan, who had taken the passport, produced
it with a flourish at the gates, and begged that milord might not be
troubled with unnecessary delay.  The officer on guard bowed politely,
and we were allowed to pass.  I had little expected to get on so well,
but no one seemed to suspect our character.

As soon as we were out of sight of the city, we pushed forward, anxious
to get as far as we could before nightfall.  Our road was to be due
north for a considerable distance, along the banks of the Cauca.  After
this we were to turn to the right over the Quindio mountains to reach
Bogota.  Our great object was to push on to such a distance from
Popayan, that I might not run the risk of being recognised by any
persons who knew me.  The letters I carried were couched in such
language, that had they fallen into the hands of the Spaniards I should
still have been safe.  They spoke of me as a young Englishman of fortune
who had come over to see the beauties of the country, and who proposed
to spend a short time at Bogota on his way down the Magdalena to
Cartagena, from whence he expected to embark for England.  They
requested that the friends to whom they were addressed would render him
every assistance in carrying out the objects of his journey, especially
in obtaining any information he might desire.  They were mostly
addressed to well-known Royalists, still better to conceal my real

I cannot stay to describe the numerous incidents of the journey.  The
first night we stopped at the house of the padre of a village.  I found
him to be a man of liberal sentiments, from what he said to Mr Laffan;
though, keeping up my character, I did not venture to speak.  At first I
felt surprised at this; but I afterwards discovered that he possessed a
Bible, which he constantly studied.

"You Englishmen appreciate the book," he observed to my tutor; "but I
have, on several occasions, been compelled to hide it, lest I should be
accused of being an enemy to Spain."

Continuing our journey, we travelled along the base of the Cordilleras,
which towered to the skies on our right.  The scenery was most
magnificent.  From a height we had reached we cast our eyes over the
beautiful valley, with one or two large villages near us, and the pretty
town of Calli in the distance.  We made our way towards it, though it
was somewhat out of our direct course.  The inhabitants were generally
supporters of the Liberal cause, and had suffered greatly from the
Spaniards.  As we got close to the bridge we stopped to inquire which
was the principal inn in the place.  Crossing the bridge, we rode
through the streets of the neat little town in search of a posada, at
which we agreed that it would be more prudent to stop than with a
resident, as I might thus be able to gain much more information from the
conversation of the visitors than I could at the house of a private
person.  Everywhere the town exhibited traces of the visit of an enemy.
Many of the houses were deserted, others had been burned to the ground.
Several were in ruins, and the walls, in many places, were bespattered
with bullet-marks.

Domingo took our horses round to the shed which served as a stable,
while we entered the public room, the centre of which was occupied by a
long table with rough benches on either side, at which several persons--
merchants, small traders, and carriers--were seated.  Mr Laffan
requested to be supplied with food, and asked if we could have a room in
which our hammocks could be slung up.

The landlord assured him that the whole house was at our command.

"Yes," said Mr Laffan, "but we would rather have a room to ourselves.
This young English milord likes to be quiet."

The landlord examined me with a curious look, and said he should be
happy to clear out a room at present occupied by some of his family.

I asked Mr Laffan to tell me what the landlord had said, and in reply
begged to assure him that I would not on any account put his estimable
family to so much inconvenience; that we would, therefore, sling our
hammocks at the further end of the hall.

He was not long in placing a very fairly concocted olla-podrida before
us.  It consisted of beef, fowls, bacon, mutton, and a variety of
vegetables, all cooked together, and tolerably free from garlic.  The
landlord remarked, as he tasted it before us, "I am aware that the
English do not like much of that root, as I discovered by observing the
expressions of disgust exhibited by the countenances of some British
officers for whom I had prepared a dish with rather more, perhaps, than
the usual allowance of seasoning.  One of them declared that he was
poisoned, and compelled me, at the point of his sword, to eat the whole
of it; while another clapped the dish upside down on my head, and
insisted on my producing some other food of a less savoury character.  I
have remembered ever since that Englishmen do not like garlic."

While the landlord was talking, I endeavoured to listen to the
conversation going on at the other part of the table.  I gathered from
it some satisfactory news.  Bolivar was again in arms, and at the head
of a considerable force, with which he had been successful in Venezuela,
and was marching towards New Granada.  I earnestly hoped that he might
capture Bogota before the Spaniards had put our friends to death.  Once
or twice I was tempted to ask questions, and only recollected just in
time that I was supposed not to understand Spanish.  Some of the men at
the supper-table eyed me, I fancied, narrowly; but whether they
suspected who I was, or were considering whether it would not be
profitable to rob the young English milord, I could not make out.

Mr Laffan and Domingo having secured our hammocks, we turned in, with
our pistols by our sides, while Lion took up his usual post under where
we lay.



We left Calli at daybreak, before the rest of the guests were astir.  I
was not altogether satisfied that we had escaped detection; and from the
appearance of some of the characters at the supper-table, I thought it
possible that an attempt might be made to rob us.  How Domingo might
act, I could not tell; but I was very sure that, in the event of being
attacked by banditti, Mr Laffan would prove to them that they had
caught a Tartar.  The road we traversed was as bad as could be.
Sometimes our horses descended the hills almost on their haunches; at
others we were compelled to dismount and lead them up the steep
inclines.  We had several streams to cross; some we were able to ford,
others were spanned by wooden bridges.  One of these was thrown over a
rapid river which flowed at the foot of some steep and huge rocks, above
which was a level space with inaccessible-hills on either side.

"That would form a good military post," observed Mr Laffan, pointing to
the spot.  "Either our friends or our enemies will take possession of it
one of these days, and it will prove a hard matter to drive them out."

I noted the spot, as well as his remark.

At the next stream we came to, which was a more tranquil one than the
former, we had an adventure.  As we were crossing it, we observed a
large snake swimming towards us.  On it came, with its head and part of
its body raised out of the water.  On nearing us it stopped, apparently
watching our motions.  I then knew, by the black cross which I observed
on its neck, that it was of the species called aquis, one of the boldest
and most venomous of the serpents of that region.  Mr Laffan, not
liking the creature's appearance, and naturally thinking it intended to
attack us, drew his pistol.

"You had better not, senor," cried Domingo; "you are very likely to
miss, and the brute will come after us.  Let me take it in hand.  Please
hold my horse."

Domingo dismounting, ran a short distance, to a place where we saw a
number of bamboos growing.  He cut one with his sword, and then advanced
to fulfil his promise.  The aquis had all the time remained perfectly
quiet, with its eyes fixed on us.  As Domingo approached, the creature
put out its forked tongue, and raised itself higher in the water, as if
preparing to make a dart at its enemy.  On this, Domingo retired to a
distance; but he and the snake continued to watch each other for some
minutes.  Suddenly the aquis turned round, and began to swim to the
other side of the river.  The moment Domingo observed its head turned
from him he rushed to the bank, and before it got beyond his reach gave
it three or four tremendous blows with the bamboo, which made it turn on
its back.  Then following up the attack, he succeeded in killing the
creature.  On measuring it, we found that it was upwards of six feet in

"It never does to run from these creatures," observed Domingo, as he
remounted; "they will follow even a horse for a league or more, and move
as rapidly, provided the ground is not too dry."

In the meadows we observed large numbers of fine cattle.

"Ah, senor, you might have seen twice as many before the Spaniards
passed by," said Domingo; "but they slaughtered all they could get,
sometimes merely for the sake of their tongues.  It is a pity that the
people should have rebelled against their lawful sovereign; and this is
the consequence."

Mr Laffan made no reply.  It was as well, for our purpose, that Domingo
should appear so loyal.

In the woods, and often flying across the valley, we saw various kinds
of birds, macaws and parrots; some of the latter had yellow plumage on
the breast, wings, and tail, and red feathers on the head.  We also met
with wild turkeys, grouse, and partridges in large numbers; and we
frequently caught sight of deer scampering over the hills.  But
sometimes, during a whole day, we did not pass a single house of any
size, while the cottages of the peasantry were scattered at long
distances from each other.

As we proceeded down the valley, however, we saw a number of neat
country-houses and cottages; while the soil appeared to be fruitful in
the extreme, and nothing could surpass the beauty of the scenery.  The
numbers of the cattle also increased.  They were under the charge of
black slaves, who were riding about looking after them.  We saw neither
Creoles nor Indians: the latter had made their escape to the forests and
mountains, and the former had been carried off to serve in either the
one army or the other.  The appearance of the blacks on horseback was
singular.  On their heads they wore large straw hats, while their bodies
were covered by a cloak made of rushes, which served to keep out both
the heat and the rain.  Their legs were bare, but their feet were
protected by sandals, to which were fastened spurs of huge dimensions.
Each man carried by his left side a long manchette, or sword-knife,
secured to his girdle.  They were all galloping as hard as they could
go, wheeling their horses round and then halting in a moment.

"Those fellows would make useful cavalry, if they could be got to face
the enemy; and I should like to find myself at the head of a thousand of
them," observed Mr Laffan.  "We should give a good account of any of
the Spanish lancers we might fall in with."

Soon after this, on the shores of a small lake, we came upon a curious
tree, which Mr Laffan pronounced to be the wax-palm, or the _Ceroxilon
andicola_.  From its appearance I should have supposed that it could
only grow in the very warmest regions; but it is of so happy a
constitution that it flourishes equally well in temperate and in cold
climates.  We afterwards found some on the mountains of Quindio.  They
are the most hardy of the Palm tribe: where others would perish, or
assume a dwarfed or stunted form, the wax-palm raises its stem, in the
form of an elegantly-wrought column, a hundred and fifty feet high, with
a splendid leafy plume.  From the leaves and trunk exudes a grey and
acrid matter, which on drying assumes the nature of wax as pure as that
of bees, but rather more brittle.  I have seen tallow-candles surrounded
by a thin coating of this wax, which, not melting as rapidly as the
tallow, prevents the candle from guttering.

The valley of the Cauca abounds with bamboo-cane, which serves a variety
of purposes.  With the bamboo the inhabitants build their houses, and
erect a pretty kind of fence around their farms.  The peasantry make
with it sweet-sounding flutes; it furnishes them also with
drinking-cups, water-buckets, and bird-cages, chairs and baskets,
blow-pipes and arrows.  With the canes also large rafts are built for
carrying cocoa and other produce down the rivers even as far as the
ports of embarkation, where the rafts themselves are disposed of to
advantage.  As cattle abound, ox-hides are made use of for all sorts of
domestic purposes.  Tables are covered with them, and also sofas,
chairs, bedsteads, doors, and trunks.  Cut into strips, they form
lassoes, greatly in use among the cattle-keepers of the plains.  They
are formed into bottles, too, for wine and chica; and with them also,
stretched on poles, hand-barrows are constructed for carrying earth and

We met in this region a number of horses and mules without ears, and
others with their ears lying flat on their necks.  On inquiring the
reason, we found that this was occasioned by an insect like a wood-louse
getting inside them, and which is as prolific as the chigua in the toes
of human beings.  These insects gradually devour the nerves of the ear,
which then falls off.  To prevent this, the muleteers rub the inside of
the animal's ears with hog's lard, to which the insect has a decided

Even this paradise was not perfect.  We caught sight of several
tiger-cats, jaguars, and pumas, which come down and commit depredations
on the flocks and herds; and occasionally a huge black bear will descend
from his mountain lair and pay a visit to the hog-pen, though he runs a
risk of being shot by the watchful owner.

Having all my life lived in the high regions of New Granada, I was not
prepared for the perfectly tropical scenery I now for the first time
beheld.  I remember one spot by the side of the Cauca, just before we
reached Cartago.  The sepos, or rope-like vines, hung from the lofty
branches of the trees, and beautifully-coloured parasitical plants were
suspended in the air.  Gaily-tinted macaws flew across the blue sky, and
other birds of the gayest plumage flitted here and there.  There were
several plants of the cacti species on the borders of the stream, on the
shores of which were seen the bamboo-dwellings of the inhabitants, with
palms and other graceful trees rising above them; while long-tailed
monkeys swung to and fro on the creepers, which seemed arranged
specially for their amusement.

Soon after this we reached the town of Cartago, from which we were to
strike upwards over the Quindio mountains.  The town was of considerable
size, and at one time, I have no doubt, was as flourishing as others in
the province.  The curse of war had fallen upon it.  Many of the houses
were empty,--their owners having been killed on their own thresholds, or
carried off to be shot, or sent to work at the fortifications of
Cartagena or other places on the coast.  I saw here a larger number of
slaves--negroes and negresses--than at any other place we had passed
through.  The latter were dressed in blue petticoats, without any other
garments.  They came in numbers from the river-side, carrying huge
pitchers or leathern bottles of water on their heads, and walking
gracefully and perfectly upright.  I remember a group we passed in the
outskirts of the town, who appeared to take life very easily: the women,
in the most scanty raiment, with huge necklaces, were seated on the
ground chatting and laughing; the men, their only garment a shirt, were
lazily smoking their cigars.  Forgetting that I was to be ignorant of
Spanish, I spoke to them, when, turning round, I saw a person passing in
the uniform of an officer.  He looked at me for a moment, but making no
remark, passed on, and I thought no more about the matter.

Only a very small remnant, I should say, of the ancient inhabitants now
remain, though the traces of their former existence are everywhere to be
seen, showing that at one time they must have been very numerous.  They
have been destroyed in vast numbers by the severity of their relentless
and avaricious taskmasters.  Thousands and tens of thousands of poor
Indians have perished from famine, the sword, and the pestilence, or
have died with hearts broken by the loss of liberty, or from being
compelled to labour in the gold-mines with constitutions unequal to the
performance of their hard task-work.

We were, of course, anxious not to stay an hour longer at Cartago than
was necessary; and yet it might seem strange to the inhabitants that an
Englishman, travelling for the sake of amusement, should not wish to
remain a sufficient time in the town even to form a correct opinion of
it.  The posada was a wretched one, but there were few people in it.
The old woman who kept it declared that the Spaniards had carried off
all her property; indeed, except a few red earthenware plates, I could
see nothing on which our supper could be served.  I sat down in a corner
of the room, and pretended to be reading an English book; while Mr
Laffan went out to arrange for guides, silleros, and peons, to enable us
to travel over the Quindio mountains.  From what our old landlady said,
I guessed that she was a Liberal; but, of course, I thought it best not
to trust her.  The silleros are chairmen, the peons carry the baggage.
It was not necessary, we found, to leave our horses behind, though it
might be dangerous to ride them.  At the same time, if it had not been
important to keep up our character as travellers, I should not have
hesitated to push over the mountains with a single guide to show the

While I was waiting for Mr Laffan's return, a Spanish officer entered
the posada, and in a dictatorial tone ordered supper, although it was an
early hour for that meal.  He then eyed me narrowly, and inquired of the
old woman who I was.  It struck me that he was the person I had seen
while I was talking to the natives.

"An English milord going over the Quindio mountains to Bogota," was the
answer--being the information Domingo had given her.

Turning towards me, he inquired if such were the case.  I was very
nearly replying, when I remembered that I did not speak Spanish, and I
made signs to let him know that my companion would soon return and
inform him all about the matter.  Finding that he could make nothing of
me, he paced up and down the room, his sword clanking on the hard mud
floor.  Whenever he came near me, Lion gave a low growl, and appeared as
if about to spring on him.  There was something in the tone of his
voice, or the appearance of the man, which evidently the sagacious
animal did not like.  Soon after an orderly appeared, conducting a
sillero and two peons--the sillero was a fine strong-built man in a
loose dress.

The captain told them that he meant to start next morning at daybreak to
go across the mountains, and that they must reach Ibaque in five days.

"Impossible," was the answer.  "Six is the least in which the journey
can be performed.  Except with the greatest exertion, it requires

"I must start at daybreak to-morrow morning, and my orders must be
obeyed.  Go! the sergeant will look after you."

The soldier retired with the men, who, I found, were his prisoners; and
in a short time Mr Laffan appeared, and said that he had arranged with
two silleros and five peons, three of whom were to lead the horses, and
the other two to carry our baggage.

"Domingo will have to walk, and so must we, if we wish to push on fast,"
he observed.  "They can go on ahead, and we can overtake them at the
foot of the mountains," he added.

This was satisfactory intelligence.  I then told him what I had heard
the Spanish officer saying; that he seemed an ill-tempered fellow; and
that we must be on our guard towards him.

The captain, after having discussed his supper, put the same questions
to Mr Laffan that he had put to me.

My tutor told him the story agreed on.  "Oh!" he said, "you will follow
me, for I must carry intelligence of the proceedings of the rascally
rebels to Bogota."

"A pleasant journey to you then, colonel," said Mr Laffan, giving him a
higher title than was his due.  "We Englishmen, unaccustomed to your
wild mountains, cannot travel so fast."

I begged Mr Laffan to inquire what news the officer could give us.

"Very satisfactory," he answered; "the rebels are everywhere defeated,
and many of their leaders have been taken prisoners.  The only
unfortunate circumstance has been the escape of some of the prisoners
who were being sent to Bogota by the way of La Plata.  Among others
rescued is that intriguing lady, Dona Dolores Monteverde."

I tried to keep my countenance as this was said.

"Never heard of her," observed Mr Laffan with imperturbable coolness.
"How did it happen?"

"Suddenly, as the guards who had her and others in charge were emerging
from a defile, they were set upon by a small party of horsemen who had
remained concealed behind the rocks, and had allowed the larger force to
pass.  Most of the escort were cut down, for their bodies were found
strewed on the ground; and the prisoners, including Dona Dolores, were
carried off.  Though hotly pursued by the cavalry, who, on hearing the
shots, had returned, the rascals made good their escape."

I was delighted to hear this, and I had no doubt but that Juan by some
means or other had heard of the capture of Dona Dolores, and had formed
a plan for her rescue.  I hoped also that her father had escaped with
her, as he probably would be in her company.  It relieved my mind of a
great difficulty; for although I had resolved to attempt her liberation,
I could devise no plan for its accomplishment.  I advised Mr Laffan to
ask no further questions, lest the officer might suspect that he had
some object in view.

We slung up our hammocks as usual in the common room, and the dominie
and I did our best to sleep soundly, knowing that Lion would awake us if

The captain had stowed himself away on a pile of straw and cloaks in the
corner, and just before I closed my eyes I heard him snoring loudly.  A
small oil lamp on the table shed an uncertain light through the room, so
that objects could be only dimly distinguished.  Our valises, I should
have said, had been left on the ground a short distance from the heads
of our hammocks.

How long I had been asleep I do not know, but I was awakened by a low
growl from Lion.  He did not spring forward, however.  Looking up, I
thought I distinguished a figure stealing along the wall.  Lion still
growled.  The person, if there was one, remained in dark shadow, or else
had passed through some opening, which I did not remember to have
observed.  I lay awake for some moments watching, but could see no one.
I tried to make out whether the Spanish captain was still asleep on his
bed, but, at the distance I was from the corner, I could not be certain.
He was not, at all events, snoring, though he might be there.

Supposing that I must have been mistaken, I once more fell asleep.
Strange to say, the same circumstances again occurred; but this time,
forgetting at the moment that it was supposed I could not speak Spanish,
and suddenly aroused from slumber, I shouted out, "Who goes there?  Take
care, whoever you are, else I'll send a bullet through your head."
There was no answer.  Lion gave a suppressed bark, in addition to a
growl, and moved forward to where the valises lay, where he couched down
with his fore paws stretched out, and his head resting on them, watching
our property.  From this I was convinced that some one had attempted to
steal them, or, at all events, to obtain some of their contents; for we
had carelessly left them both partly open.  I was, however, now very
sure that Lion would take care not to allow any one to touch them
without giving us abundant warning.

This time I remained awake for some minutes, and clearly distinguished a
person creeping round to the captain's bed, on which he threw himself.
It must have been the captain himself.  Possibly his object was to
obtain some money, which, supposing me to be a rich Englishman, he had
concluded he should find; or he may have wished to get hold of our
letters to ascertain who we were.  He had, during the evening,
frequently cast suspicious glances at my tutor and me, as if he were not
quite certain that the account we gave of ourselves was the true one.

Overcome by sleep, my eyes once more closed; but I dreamed that I saw
the captain reading our letters at the table, and making notes of their
contents; and that then Lion jumped up and seized him by the throat.
The dominie and I sprang to his rescue, but could not find the letters.
I thought that he addressed us both by name, however, and appeared to
know all about our affairs.

The captain got up at daybreak, and awoke us by shouting for his
breakfast.  During the meal, which he hurried over, he asked Mr Laffan
a number of questions; then suddenly turning to me he said--

"How is it that you, who have been some months in the country, cannot
speak Spanish?"

I looked at Mr Laffan and signed to him to reply.

"The young milord has no aptitude for learning languages," he observed.
"If you were to go to England, it might be some months before you could
make yourself understood."

The Spaniard, smiling grimly, said, "That's strange, for I was awakened
during the night by hearing him cry out, in very good Spanish,
threatening to shoot somebody.  I recognised his voice, and could not be

I endeavoured to look perfectly unconcerned, as if I had not understood
what was said.

"You must have been dreaming, senor captain," observed Mr Laffan; "I
was nearer to him than you, and did not hear his voice."

He then, turning to me, asked what the Spaniard could mean.

"Tell him that the young English lord is indignant at having such
remarks made; that he must apologise for venturing to say such things.
It will be better to carry matters with a high hand."

The captain again smiled grimly, and muttered, "We shall see, we shall

Having finished his meal, without even offering to pay the landlady he
left the house and joined his men, who were waiting for him at the door
with the captive silleros and peons.  I followed him out unobserved, and
heard him remark "that they must push on as fast as they could go, and
keep ahead of the two English travellers."

"They are not likely to start for a couple of hours," answered the
sergeant; "and if you wish it, we may find means to stop them."

Some further conversation ensued, when the captain took out a paper, on
which he wrote several sentences.

"Give this to Major Alvez, and if he thinks fit he will despatch a party
to arrest them.  You may accompany it, as you know them, and so there
will be no mistake."

Not wishing to be discovered, I returned into the house before I could
hear more.  The captain, mounting a strong mule, rode off, followed by
the soldiers and the prisoners.

As soon as they were gone, the men whom Mr Laffan had hired made their
appearance.  The two silleros were remarkably fine, intelligent--looking
Indians, dressed in loose trousers and shirt, the universal poncho of
small dimensions over their shoulders, and a large straw hat.  They had
long poles in their hands.  The peons wore only hats and loose short
trousers.  The machine on which the latter carry the baggage is a sort
of frame of bamboo about three feet long, with a cross-piece at the
lower end, on which they rest the load.  It is secured with straps,
which first pass round the burden and then go over the shoulders and
across the breast; another strap passes over the forehead, and is
fastened to the top of the bamboo at the back.  The peons are careful to
put a pad between the strap and the head and loins, to prevent chafing.
The chair on which people are carried is much the same as the silla de
cargo, except that the chair has rests for the arms, and a step for the
feet.  A peon will carry a load weighing a hundred pounds, but sometimes
double that weight.  Although neither Mr Laffan nor I intended to make
use of our silleros unless in case of necessity, we thought it prudent
to take them with us, that we might keep up our character as English
travellers.  The sillero who had been engaged to carry me was a
well-informed fellow, as I judged from his remarks to Domingo;--of
course, he did not address me.

Some time elapsed before the mules were brought to the door.  Our horses
were led by halters; and, that they might be as unencumbered as
possible, their saddles and bridles were carried on the backs of peons.
Everything being ready, we started; the porters, with the loads on their
backs, keeping up easily with the mules.  The road for about a league of
the way was tolerable, but it then became so bad that we had frequently
to dismount and trudge on foot.  So steep were the hills in some places,
that there was no little danger of our animals rolling over.  The mules,
however, accustomed to the ground, inspected it narrowly, then, planting
their four legs together, slid down on their haunches.  All we could do
was to sit well back in our saddles, and trust to the sure-footedness of
our animals.

Our first stopping-place was in a ruinous village at the foot of the
mountains--the last we were to see until we reached Ibaque.  We occupied
a room in one of the houses, while our attendants formed sheds, and
covered them with large plantain-leaves, which they had brought from
Cartago.  From one or two of the very few people we met we learned that
the Spanish captain had gone on ahead, the soldiers we had seen with him
having returned to a fort in the neighbourhood.  He must have trusted to
the terror which the Spaniards had inspired by their fearful cruelties.
The Godos had indeed so cowed the natives that they would not have dared
to molest him, else he would scarcely have ventured alone on such a
journey.  He, of course, had no luggage or animals to impede his
progress, and would be able to travel faster than we could.  As,
however, Mr Laffan and I agreed that he very likely suspected us, we
resolved to push on as rapidly as we could, so that we might, if
possible, reach Bogota before he would have time to warn the authorities
against us.



The road was as bad as could be,--often so steep, that it was like
climbing up steps; in some places, indeed, large trees had fallen across
the path.  But our peons skipped over the trunks with as much firmness
as if they had been walking on level ground.  Now on one side, now on
the other, were tremendous precipices, down which the traveller, by a
slip of the foot, might be hurled, and dashed to pieces.  We had cloaks
and blankets, which we required during the night, for as we ascended the
atmosphere became very cold.  We also maintained good fires to keep off
the jaguars, which frequently, we were told, attacked the mules.  We
heard them roar during the night; while a dismal howling was kept up by
the red monkeys which abound in these deserts.  Added to this, our ears
were saluted by the loud screeching of night-birds, which formed a
serenade far from pleasing.

The mountains were clothed with gloomy forests, which ascend almost to
the summit of this branch of the Cordilleras.  In a few places, where
there were openings, we enjoyed extensive views, on either side, of
superb scenery--the mountain-tops concealed in the clouds.  We also saw
numerous birds perched on the trees, or flitting among their branches--
many of the most brilliant plumage, such as I had never before seen in
the neighbourhood of Popayan.

I generally kept ahead with my sillero, who led the way.  One of the
peons following carried the chief load; then came Mr Laffan; Domingo
and the rest of the people with the animals bringing up the rear.  My
sillero, though an Indian, was called Manoel; being, as he said, a
baptised Christian.  As I was anxious to gain information, which he
seemed willing to impart, I was tempted to break through the plan which
had been agreed on, and to speak a few words of Spanish, so that I might
ask questions.  I began in a broken, hesitating sort of way, until at
length I forgot myself altogether, though Manoel did not appear at all

"El senor speaks Spanish better than I should have supposed possible
from the short time he has been in the country," he observed.

"I can understand what you say, and that is all I want," I answered.  "I
have heard other Indians speak as you do, and so I am more ready to
converse with you than I should be with a Spaniard."

I felt sure that I could trust Manoel, as, from one or two remarks he
had let drop, I was convinced that he was a Liberal, and had no love for
the Spaniards.  While we were encamped at night, sitting round our fire,
we all talked away until it was time to go to sleep; but while
travelling, as we were compelled to move in single file, it was
difficult to carry on a conversation, except with the person immediately
in front or behind.

After we had proceeded some distance, we began to hope that I had been
mistaken in what I had heard the captain say to the sergeant, and that
we should escape any risk of being captured and prevented from
continuing our journey.  Still Mr Laffan continued anxious on the

We had been travelling for some time, and I was beginning to feel more
tired than I had hitherto done.  I had not as yet, indeed, quite
recovered my full strength, and was scarcely fitted to walk as I was

Manoel at length persuaded me to get on the silla.  "It makes no
difference to me," he observed; "you are as light as a feather.  You
English are very different from the Spaniards.  They get on our backs as
if they were riding mules, and will often use a stick if we do not go
fast enough to please them."

I consented unwillingly, for I did not like the idea of any one carrying

From the position I had now attained, I could look down the steep ascent
we had mounted, and I had an extensive view.  I saw Mr Laffan standing
gazing back along the path we had come; the rest of the party were
nowhere, in sight.  We shouted, but no reply came.  Could the Spaniards
have acted as the captain had advised them, and captured our people?

"Stop, Duncan," cried Mr Laffan; "I do not like the look of things."
He soon overtook me, and expressed the same fears I entertained.

I asked Manoel what he thought.

"Very likely," he answered; "those ladrones would as willingly rob
English travellers who honour our country by a visit, as they would the
unfortunate Patriots or us poor Indians.  The best thing we can do is to
push on."

The peons carried our valises, the most valuable part of our property.
We had our money in our pockets, with a brace of pistols apiece; and I
had my gun, which I had brought in case I should see anything to shoot.

"But what shall we do for provisions?" asked Mr Laffan.

"We shall find game enough on the road to supply all our wants,"
answered Manoel.

We agreed, therefore, to move forward as fast as we could.  Domingo,
with the peons and our animals, if not captured, could easily follow and
overtake us at night.

"We are coming to the steepest part of our journey," said Manoel; "the
Spanish soldiers will have a difficulty in climbing up the path ahead."

Every now and then Mr Laffan looked back, and I kept looking
occasionally down the valley,--but not a sign of our attendants could I
discover.  In a short time Manoel said that he observed the marks of
footsteps ahead.  "They are those of a sillero carrying some person.  We
shall soon overtake them."

Manoel, in his eagerness, soon distanced the other peon and Mr Laffan,
whose anxiety made him stop to ascertain whether our attendants were
coming.  We were at this time mounting an excessively steep and narrow
path, with a tremendous precipice on one side, down which it made me
giddy to look: had I not had the most perfect confidence in my sillero,
I should infinitely have preferred to walk.  I begged him, indeed, to
let me get off; but he always answered, "You are no weight; it makes not
the slightest difference to me.  I feel my footing more secure with you
on my back."  Shortly afterwards I heard him exclaim, "There they are!--
the savage brute!"

"Of whom do you speak?"  I asked.

"Of the Spanish officer.  He is digging his spurs into the side of my
poor brother, to make him go faster."

I glanced round, although it was somewhat difficult to do so; and there,
sure enough, I saw the captain whom we had met at the posada, seated in
a silla, and striking, now with one leg now with the other, at his
carrier, occasionally hitting him over the head with the back of his
hand.  The Indian went on, as far as I could perceive, without
complaining; but the captain shouted "Go on--go on faster," and again
dug his spurs into the poor Indian.

Manoel groaned.  I could hear him grind his teeth.

"How can you bear it?" he muttered.  "The Spaniard may repent his
cruelty, though."

At the foot of the precipice, I should have said, rushed a fierce
torrent, roaring and foaming down the side of the mountain.  Presently I
saw the sillero buttress himself, as it were, firmly with the iron-shod
stick with which he supported his steps.  Again the Spaniard dug his
spurs into his side, asking him what he was doing, and, with a fearful
oath, shouted to him to go on.  The Indian answered by a vigorous jerk
of his back, when I saw the Spaniard shot off, as from a catapult.  The
next moment he was falling headlong down into the gulf, several hundred
feet below us.  One fearful shriek rent the air; it was the only sound
the wretched man had time to utter before the breath, by the rapidity of
his fall, was taken from his body.  It was the work of an instant.  I
shut my eyes.  It seemed like some terrible dream.  The Spanish captain
was gone, though his voice still sounded in my ear.

Manoel stopped.  "He has met the fate he deserved," he said.

"But the sillero will see you, and suppose you will inform against him."

Manoel answered with a low laugh.  "He is my brother, and knows that the
secret is safe in my keeping.  Can I trust you?  No other creature saw
what has occurred."

"God saw him, and he is the avenger of blood," I answered.

"Would you have had my brother patiently submit to the cruelties
inflicted upon him?" asked Manoel.

"We have no right to take the life of a fellow-creature, except in
self-defence or open warfare," I replied.  "But the secret is safe in my
keeping.  I did not even see the face of the man who committed the deed,
and I know not who he was.  I love the Spaniards as little as you do,
and I promise you I will not reveal the dreadful crime I have just

"I am grateful," answered Manoel; "for, to tell you the truth, had I
thought you capable of informing against my brother, I might have been
tempted, though much against my inclination, to serve you as he served
the Spaniard; but had I done so, I never should have been happy

I scarcely thought that Manoel was in earnest, and yet I believe that he
was so.  His fidelity to his brother sillero would have been paramount
to every other consideration.  Manoel was advancing as he spoke, but
when I looked round the sillero had disappeared, though I afterwards
caught a glimpse of him bounding up the rocks on the left, having hurled
his chair over the cliff.

It was some time before I could recover from the horrible scene I had
witnessed; and I debated in my own mind whether or not I should have
given the promise I had made to Manoel.  One thing was certain,
however--I was bound to keep it.

When the path became less steep, I insisted on walking.  Manoel, too,
though he had boasted of his strength, was obliged to stop and rest; and
at length the peons and Mr Laffan rejoined us.  The latter was still
anxious about the rest of the party, and declared that it would be
impossible for the horses to mount the steep path by which we had come.
He thought that even the mules could scarcely do it, supposing that they
had not been overtaken by the Spaniards.

I had not, of course, told him how our chief cause of anxiety was
removed, and that we need no longer fear discovery on our arrival at

"When the Spaniards are driven away, and a Liberal government is
established, we must have a good road over these mountains," exclaimed
Mr Laffan.  "It is a disgrace to a civilised country, that no better
means of communication exists between the capital and her most fertile

At last, as evening approached, Manoel selected a spot for encamping,
and we made the usual preparations.  We enjoyed a magnificent scene.  As
far as the eye could range were mountains clothed with immense forests,
into which man had never penetrated.  About a couple of hundred feet
below us ran a sparkling stream, towards which, while the peon was
employed in collecting wood for the fire, Manoel made his way, to fill a
leathern bottle with water.  I accompanied him with my gun, followed by
Lion, hoping to shoot some birds for supper.

We had gone a little way along the bank, when a wild turkey got up.  I
fired, and brought it to the ground.  Manoel ran forward to secure it,
but just before he reached it he stopped and beckoned to me.  As he did
so I saw a huge jaguar, which had been drinking at the stream, not two
hundred yards from us.  I had, as a sportsman should, reloaded my gun
before moving.  The only weapon Manoel possessed, besides the manchette
at his girdle, was his sharp-pointed staff,--not calculated for an
encounter with so powerful a beast.  The jaguar, having seen the turkey
fall, crept on to seize it.  I advanced as rapidly as I dared, keeping
my gun ready for instant use.  Lion would have rushed forward to get the
bird had I not ordered him to remain at my heels, for, powerful as he
was, a blow from the jaguar's paw would have been too much for him.

The jaguar seemed determined not to be disappointed of the turkey, and
would probably, I thought, spring at Manoel.  The difficulty was to
avoid wounding him in shooting at the jaguar.  Manoel stood ready for
action, with his staff in his hand.  He dared not for a moment withdraw
his eye from the jaguar, which, had he done so, would immediately have
sprung upon him.  I called to him, telling him I was coming, in case he
might not have heard my footsteps.  The jaguar was all the time creeping
up, threatening at any moment to spring, and I was about twelve yards
behind Manoel when the brute began to bound forward.  Manoel leapt on
one side.  Now or never, I must gain the victory, or both my companion
and I might lose our lives.  I fired.  The jaguar bounded into the air,
then fell over on its side.

Manoel dashed forward and plunged his stick into the creature's neck,
pinning it to the ground; then drawing his manchette, he quickly
terminated its existence.  We left it where it lay, for we could not
have carried its skin, even had we taken the trouble of flaying it.

Near the top of the hill we met Mr Laffan, who had witnessed the

"Bravo, Duncan! you behaved famously; and Manoel too--he is a fine
fellow.  All the same, the turkey is welcome, for I am terribly hard

We soon had the bird roasting before the fire.  It was, however, but a
moderate supper for four people and a dog, and I was sorry that I had
not succeeded in killing another turkey.

Mr Laffan kept constantly jumping up and looking down the path by which
we had come, in the hope of seeing our attendants; and just as the
shades of evening were creeping over the mountains, he exclaimed, "There
they are!--I hope I am not mistaken."

I could see several persons and animals winding round the side of the
hill, so I called to Manoel, and asked him if he thought they were our

"If they are Spaniards, senor, we shall be wise to move forward, for
they will treat you with but little ceremony, I suspect."

Manoel descended to a point from whence he could observe the approaching
party without being seen, and in a short time returned and relieved our
anxiety by assuring us that they were our friends.  It was some time,
however, before they reached our camp.

They had been delayed by their efforts to rescue one of the mules which
had slipped over a precipice and got pitched in a tree; from which,
wonderful to relate, it was drawn up uninjured.  The Spanish commandant,
we therefore concluded, had not thought fit to send in chase of us.

During the night we heard the roar of jaguars and other wild animals;
but as we kept up a blazing fire, we were not molested.  In the morning,
just as we were about to start, I shot two wild turkeys; and had we had
time to spare, I might have killed several more.  As we proceeded we saw
several tracks of bears and jaguars, perfectly fresh.

The next day we reached the Paramo, on the summit of the Cordilleras,
thirteen thousand feet above the level of the sea.  We caught sight of
numbers of wild asses, which inhabit this mountainous region.  The hoof
of the animal is divided like that of a pig.  They are very shy, so that
even the Indians are seldom able to approach near enough to kill them;
and they are also very swift of foot.

We crossed the Paramo in safety, and continued our journey for several
days without any further adventure.

The views, as we descended the mountains, were magnificent.  We could
see the Cordilleras on the opposite side of the plain of Bogota, seventy
or eighty miles off; while north and south rose prodigious heights, with
apparently perpendicular sides, their bases covered with thick, gloomy
forests, which appeared perfectly impenetrable.  As we looked back, it
seemed impossible that we should have crossed the range.  Frequently we
passed through dark gorges piercing the forests, two miles in length,
and not more than three or four feet wide, the vegetation on either side
being most luxuriant.

We had to be on our guard against bruising our legs by pieces of rock;
or getting our clothes torn by the long thorns of the bamboos; or being
knocked off our mules--for we had again mounted--by the branches of
trees.  We met a party of peons conveying salt on the backs of oxen to
Cartage.  The cargoes were small, and placed in such a manner as to
enable the animals to pass through these narrow places.  Fortunately
there was an opening near the spot, or we should have been unable to
pass each other.

At last we reached a tambo, or shed, built for the use of travellers--
the first sign of civilisation we had met since we left the western side
of the Cordilleras.

We were now once more in a warmer region.  Butterflies of large size,
covered with orange-coloured spots, fluttered about; and red monkeys
leapt from tree to tree, frequently coming down to make grimaces at us.
Another day's journey brought us to a cottage inhabited by peasants, who
gave us a satisfactory welcome.

At length we reached the place where we were to part from our silleros
and peons, and continue our journey on horseback.

"I hope that we shall meet again," I said to Manoel, who had won my

"We shall, senor, it may be, if you do not soon leave the country,"
replied Manoel, looking earnestly at me.

"I may stay longer than I at first intended," I said.

Manoel and the rest of our attendants were well satisfied with the
payment we had made them.

Mr Laffan and I, with Domingo, now continued our journey on horseback,
the roads being tolerable.  But, eager as we were to reach Bogota, we
agreed that it would be wise, the better to keep up our assumed
character, to visit the waterfall of Tequendama, which was not far out
of our direct road.  It is formed by the river Bogota, which is
hereabouts sixty yards in breadth.

As soon as we got within a mile or so of it, we obtained a guide to show
us the way.  At a height of six hundred feet above the plain of Bogota,
we enjoyed a magnificent view, embracing the various windings of the
river, several large lakes, and enormous forests--the city in the
distance, backed by a range of bold mountains.  Thence we began to
descend towards the waterfall, the sides of the hill being abrupt and
slippery.  We passed through a grand, gloomy forest, the lofty boughs of
the trees sheltering us from the rays of the hot sun.  All was silent,
except the deep, fine note of the tropiole, which was occasionally
heard; while through the openings we caught sight of other birds of
brilliant plumage, which here live unmolested.

Leaving our horses, the dominie and I descended a couple of hundred feet
to a spot where the "Salto," as it is called, burst on our view, rushing
down between two mountains until it attains the edge of a precipice,
whence the vast body of water is precipitated into a mighty abyss below.
The chasms through which such falls issue are known in the country as
barancas.  The sides, consisting of reddish granite, rise almost
perpendicularly.  The height of the whole fall may be nearly one
thousand feet, but the single fall in front of us was calculated to be
about six hundred feet.

We stood on the bank of the precipice for some minutes, not daring to
speak: indeed, the sound of the falling water completely drowned our
voices when we made the attempt; the sensation in our ears being as if a
thousand pieces of artillery were discharged close to us.  The ground
trembled beneath our feet, our eyes were dazzled by the sparkling spray,
and our senses felt confused, as the mighty volume of water rushed down
before us, between the perpendicular rocks, into the chasm at their
base.  The overwhelming body of water, as it left its upper bed, formed
a broad arch, smooth and glossy.  A little lower down it assumed a
fleecy form; and then shot forth in millions of tubular shapes, which
chased each other more like sky-rockets than anything else to which I
can compare them.  The changes were as singularly beautiful as they were
varied, in consequence of the difference in gravitation, and rapid
evaporation, which was taking place before the waters reached the
bottom.  Dense clouds of vapour rose for a considerable height, mingling
with the atmosphere, and presenting in their descent the most brilliant
rainbows.  From the rocky sides of the immense basin hung shrubs and
bushes, while numerous springs and tributary streams added their mite to
the grand effect.  The water at the bottom then rushed impetuously along
a stony bed, over which hung various trees, and was lost beyond a dark
turn in the rock.  From the level of the river where we stood, the
hills, completely covered with wood, rose to a great height; while
through the only opening amid them we observed the distant mountains in
the province of Antioquia, their summits clothed with perpetual snow.
Hovering over the fearful chasm were various birds of the most beautiful
plumage, peculiar to the spot, and differing from any I had seen before.
Our guide told us that some philosophical gentlemen, in order to
ascertain the tremendous force of the torrent, had once compelled an
unfortunate bullock to descend it; but that, excepting a few bones, not
a vestige of the animal could afterwards be found at the bottom.

"It is worth coming all the way from England to behold such a scene as
this," observed Mr Laffan to our guide, as he put a piece of money into
the man's hand.  "The young milord is highly pleased."

The guide took care to inform some persons whom he found at the top of
the hill, and who were going to Bogota, of the opinion I had formed; and
they of course entertained no suspicion that I was any other than a
young English lord travelling with his tutor.  This was a great
advantage to us, as it prevented puzzling questions being asked.

Mr Laffan, however, continued to express his fears that the Spanish
captain might have preceded us, and given notice to the authorities of
our coming.

I, of course, said nothing of having witnessed the man's terrible end,
as I had resolved to keep the fearful secret locked in my own bosom.
Probably, even had I mentioned it, very little trouble would have been
taken to search out the culprit and bring him to justice.



Having made a circuit to the southward, we reached the highroad which
runs between the capital and La Plata.  As we did so, we saw before us a
considerable body of men both on foot and horseback; and on inquiring of
some peons who were coming in our direction, they told us that they were
soldiers escorting a number of Republican prisoners to Bogota.  Could
any of our friends be among them?

Mr Laffan and I determined to ride up and ascertain; and by assuming a
bold front, we hoped to escape detection.

We soon overtook the party, but found it impossible to pass them on the
road; and although we saw some prisoners in their midst, we could not
find out who they were.  The escort, however, at length halted in the
plaza of a village, which, being of considerable width, enabled us to
ride past them.  Pretending not to be much concerned, yet eagerly
scanning the countenances of the prisoners, I saw several whom I knew,
but among them my uncle, Doctor Cazalla, who, with the rest, had been
compelled to walk, his hands secured behind his back with a rope.  He
was now, with his companions in misfortune, seated on a log of wood.  I
felt sure that he knew me, though he made no sign of recognition, and I
dared not make any to him; but my appearance showed him, I trusted, that
every effort would be made for his liberation.  Further on was another
group of prisoners, some lying on the ground, others seated on a stone
bench.  Fearing that the account the Spanish captain had given might not
be true, I half expected to see Dona Dolores and her father.  The
Spaniards, of course, would not have treated her with more consideration
than they did their other prisoners; but I could see neither her nor
Senor Monteverde.

At that instant Lion rushed forward towards one of the people seated on
the bench, and what was my dismay to discover Uncle Richard!  Fearful
lest the dog should betray us, I loudly called him back, pretending that
I thought he was about to fly at the prisoners.  Though always obedient,
on this occasion he did not seem to heed me, until Uncle Richard spoke
to him in a stern voice, when the sagacious animal returned to my side
and remained there, as if he had never before seen Uncle Richard.  He, I
saw, immediately recognised Mr Laffan and me, by the glance he cast at
us; but retaining his presence of mind, he made no sign to show that he
had done so.

I rode close to him, and turning round to Mr Laffan, I said aloud,--"I
wish he would address us as Englishmen, which he might easily do without
causing suspicion; we could then learn all we want to know, and form a
plan for helping him."

Directly I had said this, Uncle Richard shouted out, "I am sure those
are Englishmen!  Have pity on me, noble gentlemen; I am your countryman,
made prisoner by the Spaniards, and shall very likely be shot if I am
not rescued."

He turned to the soldiers standing by, and said in Spanish, "Those are
English travellers--my countrymen.  Allow them to speak to me; they are
always generous, and will reward you."

Without waiting for leave, we turned our horses towards the bench; and
leaning over, I asked Uncle Richard after our families, and how he had
been made prisoner,--trying to assume as unconcerned a tone as possible.

"They are all safe," he answered.  "Your father's black servant--I won't
mention his name--has charge of them, and they are still safe in the
mountains.  I was unfortunately tempted to leave our retreat, in the
hope of raising a body of Indians and others to be ready to aid a
projected attack by the Patriots on the Spaniards, when I was surprised
and taken prisoner.  It will go hard with me, I fear, as, though I am an
Englishman, Murillo will not stand on ceremony on that account."

"Do not be cast down.  We will try to find out where you are imprisoned,
and will do everything we can to rescue you," I answered.

"I am sure of that," he said.  "By what wonderful chance are you here?"

I then told him the object of our journey, and how I had letters to a
number of persons of influence in Bogota, so that I might hope to be of
effectual service to him.

"You will do your best, I am sure," he said; "and, depend upon it, I do
not intend to be killed like a rat in a hole, but shall try to gnaw my
way out.  You had better not stay much longer, or some of those fellows
may possibly recognise you.  Bestow a gold piece or two on me, if you
have any to spare; in truth, I am greatly in need of money, as every
dollar I had in my pocket was taken from me when I was made prisoner.
And do not forget to bestow your promised gift on our guards--it will
incline them to favour me.  Two or three of them seem very good fellows,
and have been attentive to me on the journey."

"Now," I said, "if you have an opportunity, tell my mother's brother--I
will not mention his name--why I have come to Bogota, and that every
effort will be made for his liberation."

After a few more words, I took out my purse and put a few gold pieces
into Uncle Richard's hand.  I then turned to Mr Laffan, who had been
standing by, occasionally joining in the conversation, and begged him to
distribute some money among the men.  As I glanced my eye over them,
what was my surprise to see my servant Antonio in a corporal's uniform,
and apparently in command of the party!  I was sure it was he, although
he looked at me in the most unconcerned manner possible, returning only
a military salute as Mr Laffan handed him the money.  Could he have
deserted to the enemy?  I had considered him a faithful fellow, as he
certainly was a brave one.  He must have had some object in joining the
Spaniards; what it was, however, we could not now ascertain.

Uttering our farewells, we mounted and rode on, followed by Domingo.  As
we did so, Lion turned and cast a lingering glance behind; but the stern
look Uncle Richard put on, told him that he must not take any notice of

It now became more important than ever that we should reach the city
without delay.  We had not gone far, when we saw a party of recruits
marching from a large village to the eastward.  Mr Laffan, however,
thought that they were prisoners,--which they certainly resembled more
than soldiers, except that each man carried a musket on his shoulder;
for they were all secured together by a long rope, the end of which was
held by a ruffianly-looking fellow on horseback.  They were dressed in
broad-brimmed hats, loose trousers, and ponchos over their shoulders;
but the rest of their bodies, legs and feet, were bare.  The sergeant
had on a very unmilitary-looking hat of large dimensions, with wide
leggings, and huge spurs.

"Faith, I wonder the fellows don't turn round and shoot him," observed
Mr Laffan.

"Probably, to save the risk of that, they are not supplied with
ammunition," I rejoined.  "This is the way in which the Spaniards obtain
their recruits.  The poor fellows are thus marched off to be
slaughtered; unless they can contrive to run away, which they certainly
will do if they have the opportunity."

Saluting the sergeant, who only scowled at us in return, we rode on
ahead of the party.  We found, on inquiring the distance we should have
to go, that we could not reach Bogota that evening, and accordingly
stopped at a posada three or four leagues from the city.  It was a large
straggling building, at which small traders and merchants generally put
up.  People of more consequence were accustomed to proceed further, or
stop at the country-houses of their friends.

As we rode up, we found all the inhabitants and guests assembled in the
yard witnessing a cock-fight, their eager countenances and excited
exclamations showing the interest they took in the brutal pastime.  The
birds, armed with steel spurs, flew at each other and fought
desperately.  When one was killed or hopelessly wounded, the owner tore
his hair and swore fearfully at his misfortune--by which, probably, he
had lost no inconsiderable sum.

We turned away disgusted and entered the inn--Domingo having taken our
horses into the stable--but it was some time before we could get anybody
to attend to us.  At last the landlord appeared; and Mr Laffan having
explained who we were, or rather who we pretended to be, begged that we
might have a private apartment.  On this the landlord laughed, and said
that even for an English milord this was impossible, but that we might
have a corner of the public room for ourselves.  He then inquired what
we would have for supper, assuring us that anything we might ask for
would be provided.  As usual, when Mr Laffan mentioned one thing after
another, it was not to be had.  At length, however, a tough fowl, with
some salt beef and fried eggs, was placed before us, together with some
plantains and various fruits, off which we contrived to make a very
satisfactory repast.  The scene at night reminded me of that at the
posada on the opposite side of the mountains, the arrangements being
very similar.  On this occasion, the greater part of the floor was
covered by recumbent figures.

We had already turned into our hammocks, when a loud voice demanding
admittance was heard outside the house; and--by the light of the only
candle left burning--on the door being opened I recognised the sergeant
and his recruits.  This individual in an authoritative tone ordered
several of the sleeping people to get up, in order to make room for his
party.  He then called for supper, while his men lay down, with their
muskets by their sides, to rest their weary limbs.  Having quickly
finished his meal, he took possession of a vacant space; placing, I
observed, his pistols under the saddle which served him as a pillow, and
unsheathing his sword, so as to have it ready for instant use.  He had
probably no great confidence in his recruits, and thought it not
unlikely that one of them might get up during the night and plunge a
cuchillo in his heart.

On awaking next morning, I proposed starting immediately.

"Take my advice, and stow away breakfast first," observed Mr Laffan.
"It is a sound rule to follow when travelling, unless one knows that a
substantial meal is waiting one at the end of the stage."

We got off at an early hour, however, and again passed the sergeant and
his so-called recruits on the road.  We pushed on before them, wishing
to get into Bogota as soon as possible.  As we rode on, the towers and
steeples of the city appeared before us, glittering in the rays of the
rising sun.  On one side was a range of lofty mountains, running in a
semicircular form; the city itself covering an elevation slightly above
the vast plain extending before it.  Here and there we caught sight of
the river Bogota, which runs through the plain in a serpentine form at
about three leagues from the city.  The surrounding country was
generally uncultivated, except in the immediate neighbourhood of
villages or quintas, though there were large enclosures for grazing
cattle.  On the summits of the mountains which rise immediately above
the city were perched two white buildings, which we ascertained to be
convents.  We could see the domes and towers of others, and were told
that thirty-three of them occupied the best sites in the city.  They
were, indeed, the only fine-looking buildings to be seen.

I was much struck with the appearance of the town as we entered it.  All
the streets appeared to be built at right angles, while a stream of
water flowed through the centre.  We passed, also, a number of handsome
public fountains.  The streets through which we rode were much crowded,
making us suppose that something unusual was taking place.  The
handsomest street we saw was the Calle Real, or Royal Street.  The
ground-floors of the houses were occupied by shops; with a story above,
and a large wooden balcony painted green.  On either side of the street,
which was well paved, was a foot-path; and as there were no vehicles of
any description, the traffic being carried on by mules, it was free from
ruts, and remarkably clean.

No one seemed especially to regard us, though we were occasionally
favoured with a stare from persons who fancied they were looking at
Englishmen--some of them scowling ominously at us, and bestowing curses
on our heads for being heretics.  Beggars of all descriptions swarmed in
the streets, exhibiting their sores, and demanding rather than
soliciting alms.  Many were afflicted with that dreadful complaint known
as elephantiasis--their legs being swollen to an enormous size.  Still
more numerous were the galenachas, or black vultures.  As we reached the
great square of the city, into which the Calle Real led us, we saw them
hopping about, acting as scavengers, engaged in devouring the filth and
offal left on the ground; and so tame were they, that they would
scarcely get out of our way.

On riding forward, we found ourselves in the midst of a large market
being carried on in the great square.  It was filled with people vending
their provisions--some sitting before pyramids of fruit piled up on the
ground; others at low stools, on which articles of all sorts were
exposed for sale.  Among them were Creoles, Blacks, Sambos, Indians--
indeed, every hue was represented--all jabbering in loud voices.  On one
side of the square was the town-house, and on the other the cathedral,
with two convents, and other public buildings.

We inquired our way to the house of Don Jose Lagano, which we found
looked into the great square.  Though a noted Royalist, he was a friend
of both my father and Don Cassiodoro, who were satisfied that he could
be thoroughly trusted, even although he might suspect who we were.

Don Jose was at home; and on hearing from the servant that a young
English milord had arrived, he politely came out to receive us.  As he
read the letter I delivered him it struck me that his countenance

"You are welcome, at all events," he said; "and I will endeavour to
forward the object you have in view."

He introduced me to his wife in the character I had assumed, and Mr
Laffan as my tutor.  Soon afterwards, several nice boys and girls of
various ages entered the room.  While refreshments were preparing, I
endeavoured to amuse the children by playing with them.  Though I spoke
a word or two of ill-pronounced Spanish--not being supposed to
understand their language--they were very free in their remarks, and I
could scarcely refrain from laughing as I heard what they said.  The
lady spoke French; and as I knew the language pretty well, we could
converse without difficulty.  She somewhat puzzled me by the questions
she put about England; but, as I found she had not been there, I gave
her the best account I could of such places as I had heard my father and
Uncle Richard describe.

Don Jose's countenance wore a puzzled expression as he heard me talking,
but I believe he from the first suspected who I was.  I found him an
amiable, good-natured man, and really anxious to save the lives of such
prisoners as fell into the hands of the Spanish general.

I had been directed to plead for Dr Cazalla on account of his
scientific attainments, and as it would be a disgrace, whatever his
political opinions were, to put such a man to death.

Don Jose shook his head when he heard what I said.  "That is the very
reason why Murillo will desire to destroy him," he observed.  "His
intention is to rid the country of all men of superior intelligence and
influence; and he has especially vowed to put to death every lawyer who
falls into his hands."

As a last resource, I had letters from Don Cassiodoro to Murillo
himself, which I was to deliver in person--bearding the lion in his
den--with my tutor to act as interpreter.  It was considered that there
would be no danger in this--that the doing so would rather tend to
confirm him in the idea that I was a young English nobleman; and I
should, on leaving the city, be able to proceed in any direction I might
think fit.  My only fear was lest Mr Laffan and I might encounter some
person who had known us at Popayan, in which case we should be placed in
a very dangerous position.

Next morning the sound of muffled drums was heard, and on going to the
window with our host I saw a body of troops marching from the direction
of the prison.  In their midst walked several persons, each between two
priests.  I was struck by the appearance of one of the unhappy persons--
who were evidently prisoners--a young lady of graceful figure and
features, who appeared to me singularly beautiful.

"Who are they, and where are they going?"  I asked of Don Jose in
French, for he spoke that language as well as his wife.

"That lady is Dona Paula Salabariata; and she is going to her death."

"To her death!"  I exclaimed.

"Yes; in a few minutes she and those with her are to be shot.  She is a
determined Revolutionist, and has long been engaged in inciting the
people to rebellion.  Her correspondence with the Republicans has at
length been discovered; and at her trial, which took place yesterday,
she acknowledged her principles, and confessed that she had written the

"So young, and so beautiful!"  I exclaimed.

"Yes, my friend; and she is gentle, and possesses a woman's heart,
though with the spirit of a man.  She was engaged to marry a young
Republican officer; but neither her youth nor her beauty will avail her
with our stern viceroy."

"The cruel tyrant!"  I exclaimed.

Not noticing what I said, he continued: "Do you think that anything will
induce him to spare the learned doctor?"--and here he fixed his eyes on
me--"or any young man who falls into his power?"

I could make no reply; indeed, our attention was absorbed by the
mournful procession passing through the square.  My eyes were fixed on
Dona Paula.

"My heart will burst, if I do not go out and fight for her!" exclaimed
my tutor, who was standing close behind me; and he clapped his hand to
his sword.

"My friend," said Don Jose, "be calm.  Although I do not hold her
principles, I would join you if it would avail, but any attempt of the
sort would only result in our certain death."

My heart was swelling with indignation, and I felt as did my worthy
tutor, but I saw the folly of acting as our feelings prompted.

The rest of the prisoners walked with firm step; but I confess that I
scarcely noticed any of them, nor, I believe, did my companions, our
whole attention being absorbed by the lovely girl who formed the
prominent figure.  I remarked that she was dressed in black, and that
she advanced with a firm step, her small head erect on her graceful
neck; the only ornament she wore in her glossy black hair being a spray
of orange-blossom, as if she were going to her bridal.  She carried a
book in her hand; and when the friar presented the crucifix to her, she
gently but firmly put it aside.

The party moved forward until they reached the centre of the vast
square, when they halted in line, the other prisoners being made to
stand on either side.  The lady knelt down, and was allowed to remain
for a few minutes in prayer; she then rose, and handing the wreath and
her shawl to some of her weeping female friends who had followed her,
she stood alone, holding a handkerchief in her hand.  Then exclaiming,
"Success to the cause of my oppressed countrymen!" she let the
handkerchief drop.  At that moment the firing-party, a few paces off,
discharged the fatal volley; and as the smoke cleared off we saw her
stretched on the ground, not a movement to indicate that she lived being
perceptible.  An officer advanced and took her hand, to ascertain that
she was dead, after which her attendants approached and bore her away;
the only favour which the savage tyrant had been induced to grant being
that her friends should be permitted to commit her body to the grave.

Such would have been the fate of Dona Dolores, had she not escaped, I
thought.  I was nearly expressing my opinion aloud, when I happily
remembered in whose company I was.  The two ladies, I had no doubt, had
frequently communicated with each other; and since such women, full of
intelligence and enthusiasm, were labouring in the cause, it must, I
felt sure, in the end be successful.  Would that all the men were like
them, so disinterested, so self-sacrificing, so devoted,--ready, like
Dona Paula, to lay down their lives for their country's good!  But,
alas! too many even among the Patriots were self-opinionated--seeking
their own aggrandisement, and how to fill their coffers, without regard
to the public weal; yet among them were many true Patriots, such as
Bolivar, Paez, Arismendez, Santandar, and many others.

The rest of the prisoners were now brought forward; but Don Jose and
myself, shuddering, retired from the window, unwilling to see our
fellow-creatures slaughtered, while we were without the power to help
them.  The dominie, however, kept his post; but I saw that he was
grinding his teeth and clutching the hilt of his sword, while his bosom
heaved, and expressions escaped his lips, which, although I could not
even catch the words, showed how deeply he was agitated.

"Sad, very sad, that such things should be," observed Don Jose; "but the
general believes that the only way of overthrowing the Republican
principles which have gained ground in the country, is to exterminate
all who hold them."

"Does he remember the tale of `the dragon's teeth'?"  I asked.  "The
blood of that young girl cries for vengeance, and I feel assured that
thousands will rise up to answer the call."

"What! do you Englishmen side with the Liberals?" he asked.

"My countrymen are ever ready to espouse the cause of the oppressed and
suffering; and such, Don Jose, you must acknowledge the inhabitants of
this country have long been," I answered boldly, for I was sure that my
worthy host would not be offended.  Indeed, I suspect that he himself
leaned towards the independent side, although a professed Royalist.

"Time will show," he remarked; "but I wish that all this bloodshed could
be avoided."

I remarked that every time a volley was fired he shuddered.



By the aid of Don Jose and other friends to whom I had letters, I
ascertained that Dr Cazalla and Mr Duffield had been brought into
Bogota, and were confined, with several other persons whom I knew, in
the chief prison of the city--although they had not yet undergone the
mockery of a trial, which would precede their execution.  Don Jose had
made every exertion to obtain their liberation, but in vain.  The savage
Murillo, it was said, had resolved to shoot the whole of them.  As there
was no English Consul at that time in Bogota, and no one who dared
openly to take Uncle Richard's part, I determined, according to the
advice I had received, to beard the lion in his den, and threaten him
with the vengeance of England should Mr Duffield be injured.  I was
also to point out to Murillo the disgrace of destroying a man of such
high scientific attainments as Dr Cazalla, and to plead that he might
be banished to England, where he could render service to the human race.

Mr Laffan was quite willing to accompany me as interpreter.  "We may
bamboozle the scoundrel, and succeed where others have failed," observed
the dominie.  "There is nothing like impudence,--or a bold bearing, as
some would call it,--when one has to deal with a fellow of this sort."

We set out, accordingly, for the viceroy's palace.  On our arrival we
found numerous officers hurriedly coming and going, but most of them
merely glanced at us and passed on.  In the ante-room there was a motley
assemblage of persons of all ranks.  Some had come with petitions,
others had been summoned to undergo examinations; and several--
informers, I have no doubt--were hoping to obtain a reward for their
treachery.  I sent in my card by an aide-de-camp, requesting an
interview with his Excellency.  To my surprise, we were almost
immediately admitted.  The general was seated at a table covered with
papers--two or three officers standing near him.  His countenance did
not belie his character.  Although the expression of his mouth was
concealed by his huge moustache, the dark eyes which gleamed forth from
under his shaggy brows, and the frown which wrinkled his high forehead,
betokened his savage disposition.

"Who are you, and what do you want?" he asked abruptly in Spanish.

I turned to Mr Laffan and begged him to interpret what the general

"Tell him that I am English, and how, hearing that a countryman of mine
has been imprisoned unjustly, I have come to demand his release, and
permission for him to accompany me back to England."

"Of what profession is he?" asked the general of Mr Laffan.  "Is he a

"No," I replied; "he is a British naval officer who has resided for some
time in this country, but is still under the protection of the English
Government, to whom it would be my duty to give information should any
harm happen to him."

"Had he been a lawyer, whether a British subject or not, he should be
shot," answered Murillo.  "As it is, I will consider the matter."

He turned to one of the officers, who handed him a paper.

"Ah!  I see he is married to a lady belonging to a rebel family; and he
himself was found inciting the peasantry to take up arms.  I care not
though he is under British protection.  He shall die."

"My countrymen will avenge him," I answered through Mr Laffan, who
assumed an authoritative tone and manner, which I thought would produce
some effect.  "You know not whether the accusation is true or false."

Judging that it was best to leave what I had said to produce its effect,
I stopped for a minute, and then continued,--"Well, your Excellency, I
need not speak further about Senor Ricardo Duffield.  I have now to
plead for another person, who, although not an Englishman, belongs to
all civilised countries in the world, and all will equally stigmatise
those who injure him; I allude to the learned Dr Cazalla.  I beg that
he may be allowed to accompany me to my own country, where he can
prosecute his scientific studies without molestation."

The general's brow grew darker than ever.

"He is one of the pests of this country.  He taught the rebels how to
make gunpowder and arms, to be used against their rightful sovereign.
He shall die, even although the whole British army, with your Lord
Wellesley at their head, were to endeavour to rescue him."

"That's an ungrateful remark, your Excellency, considering the service
he has rendered Spain," observed Mr Laffan; "but it's just what may be

"Go out of my presence--this instant!" exclaimed the general, irritated
by this imprudent remark.  "The prisoners shall die; and let me tell you
that your errand is bootless."

I felt, indeed, that such was the case.  In fact, I heard the general,
turning to the officer who acted as his chief of police, direct him to
keep an eye upon us.  His suspicions had, I saw, been aroused.

We did not consider it necessary to pay any special mark of respect as
we took our leave.  The general was talking to the officers at his side,
scarcely deigning to notice us.  With heads erect, and as calm
countenances as we could command, we passed through the crowd in the
ante-room, and made our way into the street.  We then hurried back to
Don Jose's, to tell him how fruitless had been our visit to the viceroy.

"I was afraid so," observed our host.  "If Murillo has made up his mind,
no power on earth can turn him from his purpose."

I had not forgotten Antonio, and had formed a plan to try and rescue Mr
Duffield and Dr Cazalla, should other means fail.  As Antonio had not
already betrayed me, I had great hopes that I could rely on his
assistance.  Always accompanied by Mr Laffan, I went about endeavouring
to discover him.  I at length ascertained that he belonged to the guard
stationed at the prison.  In all probability, then, he would at times
have charge of the prisoners inside; and if so, he might be able to aid
in their escape.

Before long we fell in with him off duty, and near the prison itself.
It was late in the evening, but there was sufficient light for us to
recognise each other.  I made a sign, and he followed us to a dark spot
under the prison walls.

"You know me, Antonio?"  I asked.

"Ah yes, senor, the moment I saw you, while we were on the march here.
I joined the Godos as the only means of saving my life--having obtained
the uniform of a corporal who had been killed.  My intention, however,
was to desert on the first opportunity."

"Will you venture to assist the escape of Don Ricardo and Dr Cazalla?"
I asked.

"Don Ricardo has already spoken to me, and promised a reward.  I will do
what I can without the reward, although the money would be welcome.  He
has promised me three hundred dollars."

"And I will give two hundred more when he is safe away from the city,
and five hundred for Dr Cazalla."

"Ah, senor, that is more difficult, for he is strictly guarded, and, it
is said, is to die to-morrow."

"To-morrow!"  I exclaimed; "then he must escape to-night."

"Impossible!" answered Antonio; "ten thousand dollars would not effect
his liberation.  And besides, in endeavouring to free him I might be
suspected, and thus be unable to help Don Ricardo."

"I know that I can trust you, Antonio," and I put some gold pieces into
his hand.  "Perhaps you can bribe your comrades; and promise them any
further reward you think fit."

"They would take the money, and betray me," he answered.  "I will employ
some of it, however, but it will be in supplying them with abundance of
strong wine; that will give me a better mastery over them than any
bribe.  Trust to my discretion."

After some further conversation, I arranged with Antonio that he was to
try and effect the escape of Uncle Richard, and, if possible, that of
Dr Cazalla.  The following night he was to be on guard inside the
prison, and he would then have the keys in his possession.  The most
likely time was about ten o'clock; and I arranged to be in the
neighbourhood to assist, if necessary, in the escape of my friend.

Mr Laffan approved of the plan, but thought that it would be imprudent
for him and me to be seen again near the prison, although we might
afterwards join the fugitives.  I proposed, therefore, having horses in
readiness, and making our way down to Honda, whence we might embark on
the river Magdalena; and the current being rapid, we should not occupy
more than five days, and might at Carthagena get on board the first
vessel about to sail.  If we could once reach any of the British West
India Islands, we should be safe.

On our return Don Jose met us as we entered, with an expression of
anxiety on his countenance.

"I fear, my friends, you are not exactly what you represent yourselves
to be," he said.  "You are honest, I doubt not, and well-conducted, and
I wish to fulfil my engagement as far as I can to assist you; but I must
advise you to leave this house and the city as soon as possible, or I
shall be compromised by your remaining."

"I am deeply grateful for all your kindness, and will do as you advise,"
I answered.  "I shall be thankful if I have ever the opportunity of
proving my sincerity."

We should at once have left Don Jose, but that it was too late to seek a
lodging; and as he did not express a wish that we should do so, we
remained, promising to bid him farewell the next morning.  I sincerely
hoped that he would not suffer in consequence of his kindness to us.

We were about to start on the following day, after breakfast, to which
our kind host insisted we should remain, when, on looking from the
window across the square, we saw, as we had on the morning of our
arrival, a body of troops marching from the prison.  There was to be
another execution, then.  My heart sank within me.  Was Murillo about to
carry out his threat?  As they approached I could scarcely support
myself, for I saw my uncle, Dr Cazalla, with several other prisoners,
nearing the spot where so many of the Patriots had already yielded up
their lives for the liberty of their country.  There were four other
persons.  It was certainly some relief not to see Uncle Richard among
them; and my whole attention was now concentrated on Dr Cazalla.  I
pointed out the doctor to Don Jose, in the vain hope that something
might even now be done to save him.

"I know him.  He is talented, learned, and noble-minded," said Don Jose.

"The world will suffer if he dies," I said.

"I know it, my friend," answered Don Jose; "but his doom is sealed."  He
took my arm as he spoke.  "I would not have you seen," he continued.
"Be warned by me, and remain concealed until nightfall.  Your horses are
in my stable, and your servant is prepared for the journey."

Even while he was speaking the rattle of musketry was heard, and Mr
Laffan, who had, notwithstanding Don Jose's advice, gone back to the
window, exclaimed, "They have murdered our friend!  I hope they will not
treat the other in the same way."

"Do you speak of my uncle?"  I asked in English.

"Too truly--I do.  There he lies, like a clod of earth; and there, too,
will lie many more, in a few minutes.  There is another!  I did not
notice him at first.  Poor Dona Dolores! what will become of her?"

"What! has Juan been captured?"  I exclaimed, my thoughts running back
to my friend, who might, I feared, have fallen into the hands of the

"No, not Juan; but Senor Monteverde.--Yes, I am sure it must be he,
though he is poorly dressed, and walks with a tottering gait.  Yes; they
are leading him up to the place of execution."

Forgetting Don Jose's caution, I sprang forward to the window and caught
a glance--it was but a momentary one--of our poor friend.  It was
sufficient, however, to convince me that I was not mistaken.  Don Jose
again took me by the arm and led me back; but a moment afterwards a
volley was fired, and an exclamation uttered by Mr Laffan told me that
Senor Monteverde was among those slaughtered by the savages.

"It will be sad news to carry to my mother and father, and to Dona
Dolores.  What will become of her?  Her father dead--her property
destroyed; but, probably, she herself is by this time in the hands of
the Spaniards, and may ere long share the fate of Dona Paula.  Shall I
ever meet them again?"  I murmured.

Other volleys of musketry, which sounded horrible in our ears, too
plainly told us what was continuing to take place.

By Don Jose's advice, we kept close in our room during the remainder of
the day; and it was growing dark when Domingo appeared, with a bundle
under his arm.

"I have been provided with this for you to put on, senor," he said,
producing a serving-man's dress, similar to that which I had worn at
Popayan.  It was curious that the same disguise should have been chosen.
"You are suspected of being a Liberal; and whether you are so or not,
you are to be arrested to-night, and probably share the fate of those
who were shot this morning.  I am desired to tell you, therefore, that
you must make your escape as soon as it is dark--you taking one
direction, while Senor Miguel and I take another."

Before I had time to ask further questions, Domingo retired.

I began to put on the dress he had brought me, and was quickly changed
into a serving-man.  While I was thus engaged Mr Laffan came in, and I
told him what Domingo had said.

"But I cannot desert you, Duncan!" he exclaimed.  "I will stick by you,
whatever happens."

I soon convinced him that we should thus only increase the risk of being
arrested, and advised him at once to make his way to Honda, as we had
told Murillo we intended doing.  If not molested, he might thence,
instead of embarking on the Magdalena, travel over the mountains
westward to one of the towns on the Cauca.  As he had no proposal to
offer against this plan--indeed, there was no other to be pursued--he
agreed to it.

"But how will you be able to travel alone?" he asked.

"I do not intend to travel alone, if I can help it," I answered.  "I
believe that Antonio will succeed in liberating Uncle Richard, and that
I shall be able to help him to make good his escape."

I was unwilling to leave the house without wishing Don Jose and his
family farewell; and as I was thinking how I could best manage to do so,
I discovered a slip of paper pinned on to the front of the jacket, on
which was written in a feigned hand,--"I know your feelings, and what
you would desire to say; but it is safer that we should not again meet.
Farewell.  Destroy this when you have read it."

The paper was not signed, but I guessed it came from Don Jose.

Domingo having now reappeared, and announced that the horses were ready,
we descended to the courtyard.  "It will be safer for me to slip out
first," I observed.

To this Mr Laffan agreed.

"You had better take Lion with you," I said; and I ordered my faithful
dog to remain with Mr Laffan.  But on this occasion the usually
obedient animal was disobedient.  When I had made my way out of the yard
I found him following me, and I had not the heart to send him back.

I resolved at all risks to join Uncle Richard, should he be able to make
his way out of prison; so towards that gloomy building I at once
directed my steps.  As the town was in total darkness, there being no
lamps in the streets, I ran little chance of being detected, while Lion
could not be seen a few paces off.  In a short time I reached the spot
where I had had the conversation with Antonio; and there, crouching
down, I awaited the hour he had named.  There was but one clock in the
city which struck the hours.  The time appeared to go very slowly by.
Perfect silence reigned through the streets.  Neither Royalist nor
Republican were at that time inclined to move about in the dark, as
assassins too frequently plied their deadly trade, and several persons
of both parties had been murdered.

At last ten o'clock struck.  I sat with my hand on Lion's head,
listening attentively.  The prison door opened; the sentinel challenged,
"Quien vive?" and the countersign was returned.  Then the door closed,
and I heard the sound of footsteps approaching, but they did not seem
those of persons attempting flight.  My hopes sank.  After all, some
officer might have visited the prison, and was now leaving it with a
guard.  I was afraid, consequently, to move; but in another instant Lion
rose to his feet, and, though he uttered no sound, bounded forward
towards one of the persons approaching.

"That must be Uncle Richard," I thought.  "The dog knows him."

I was not mistaken; and I was quickly by his side, when I found that he
had on the cap and cloak of an officer.  The other person who followed
close behind him was, I guessed from his uniform, which I could but
indistinctly see, Antonio.

Uncle Richard divined who I was, and he put out his hand and grasped
mine.  I returned the pressure; but we did not venture to speak.

Antonio led the way to the western side of the city.  "We must make for
the mountains immediately; there will be less risk of the Godos looking
for us there," he said, when we had got between some high convent walls,
where no one was likely to overhear us.

One thing was certain, we must get to a distance from the city before
daybreak.  On that point we were all agreed.

When there was no risk of being seen, we moved as fast as possible; but
as we drew near the guard at the entrance of the city we had to walk at
a dignified pace.  Antonio had given the sign and countersign to Uncle
Richard and me, so we passed through without question; it being
supposed, in all likelihood, that the officer was on his way to visit
some outpost attended by an orderly, while I concluded that I was taken
for a guide.

Long before morning dawned we were well among the mountains.  Antonio
had thoughtfully filled his knapsack with provisions, which, in addition
to those I had brought from Don Jose's, would serve us for several days.
The corporal had also furnished himself with a remarkably good rifle,
and a quantity of ammunition.  Our intention was to make our way to some
place occupied by a Patriot force, of which we hoped to gain
intelligence from the peasantry, either Creoles or Indians, the greater
portion of whom were likely to prove friendly.  It was most important,
however, to put as great a distance as possible between the city and
ourselves, for as soon as our flight was discovered parties would
certainly be sent out to scour the country in search of us.

We rested for a couple of hours under an overhanging rock--to take some
food and regain our strength--just before daybreak, and then once more
pushed on.  None of us, unfortunately, had any exact knowledge of the
country.  We had therefore to steer by the sun, and to follow the tracks
which appeared to lead in the direction we wished to go.  Occasionally,
when we reached a height from which a view eastward could be obtained,
we looked back to ascertain if any one was following.  A party on
horseback, by galloping over the more level ground, instead of climbing
the mountains on foot, might even now overtake us.

The sun was still shining over the hills to the westward, but would
shortly disappear behind them, when we saw before us a rapid river
rushing between lofty and precipitous cliffs.  How to cross it, was the
question.  We could see no bridge or canoe, and it ran too furiously for
us to breast its foaming billows; while it would be dangerous to cross
on a raft, even if we could find materials for forming one.

We made our way over the rough ground down the stream.

"I should think we must be safe from pursuit here; but I will just take
a look-out from yonder height," observed Uncle Richard.

He had scarcely got to the summit of the hill when he shouted out, "Here
come some suspicious-looking fellows; but they are a good way astern at
present, so that we must somehow or other leave them on this side of the
river."  After taking another look, to assure himself that he was not
mistaken, he rejoined us, and we hurried along the bank.

We had not gone far when Antonio exclaimed, "I see a tarabita!  It will
serve our purpose; and we must take care that it does not help our
enemies across."

He pointed, as he spoke, towards a long thin rope thrown across from one
cliff to the other.  On getting up to it we found the bridge--for so it
might be called--consisted of a long rope made of hides, the ends
secured by stakes driven into the earth; to this a sort of basket was
suspended, with two smaller ropes fastened to it--the one reaching to
the side we were on, the other to the opposite bank, where a man--
apparently the guardian of the so-called bridge--was seated on a log
smoking.  Antonio shouted to attract his attention; and getting up, he
made a sign for one of us to enter.

"You go first, Senor Ricardo," said Antonio to Uncle Richard.

But the latter insisted on going last, and made me and Lion get into the
basket.  The bridge-keeper immediately began to haul away, and I soon
found myself dangling over a fearful chasm.  I was, however, quickly
across; and, by means of a rope passing through a block on the side I
had left, the basket was immediately drawn back.

Antonio was passed over in the same way, and joined me.

Uncle Richard had, in the meantime, gone to the height overlooking the
path behind us, but he soon hurried back and took his seat in the

"Tell the old Indian to be smart in hauling me across," he shouted out.

The man obeyed; but Uncle Richard was not more than half-way over when
we saw a party of soldiers on the height above the river, and I clearly
made out that they were Spanish soldiers.  Should they reach the end of
the rope before Uncle Richard was safe, they might, by threatening to
cut it, compel us all to come back; so we hastened to seize hold of the
tackle, in order to assist the Indian in dragging the basket over more

"Take care, senores; you will break it, if you pull too hard," he

We were not aware whether he had seen the Spaniards coming.

"Haul away," shouted Uncle Richard.

We obeyed him, and he was soon able to spring on to the ground.  His
first action on doing so was to grasp Antonio's sword, and to hack away
at the rope, to the great astonishment of the old Indian, who loudly
expostulated, and attempted to stop him.  But Antonio and I seized the
bridge-keeper and held him fast while Uncle Richard finished the
operation, and soon the rope swung across to the opposite cliff.

"Now," said Uncle Richard, "we shall have to make the best use of our
legs, or we may chance to have some bullets whistling about our ears."

We hurried on, hoping to get beyond the range of the firearms of our
enemies before they had reached the bank; and we had completely lost
sight of them when we heard a volley fired.  We only hoped that the poor
old Indian had hidden himself in time, and that it was not aimed at him.
Whether there was any ford, or other means of crossing the river,
further down, we could not tell; it was therefore important to make as
rapid progress as possible.  A moon was in the sky, about half full,
which, in that atmosphere, allowed us to see our way for some distance,
so we took great care to profit by it.

At length we saw a light ahead of us.  It proceeded from an Indian's
hut, in the centre of which a large fire was blazing.  We made our way
towards it, hoping to obtain a guide; besides, we required rest, and it
was necessary to obtain it at all risks.

The owner of the hut was seated before the fire boiling a pot of cocoa,
and he did not appear to be surprised on seeing us.

"Travellers are constantly coming this way, and I was getting some cocoa
ready lest any should come in," he observed.

Uncle Richard said that we should be glad to rest for a few hours, and
inquired whether he would guide us over the mountains.

"I cannot do so myself; but my son, who will be here shortly, will
willingly do so.  He has guided many travellers across the Paramo," was
the answer.

We took our seats around the fire, and the Indian cooked some plantains,
which, with the cocoa, served us for supper.

In a short time the son of whom our host had spoken made his appearance.
He was a fine, strong youth, and seemed well fitted for acting in the
capacity of guide.

He told us that as he was coming over the mountains from a village on
this side of the river, to which he had escorted some travellers, he had
heard firing, and concluded that there had been a fight between some
Liberals and the Godos.  "I hope the last were well beaten," he
muttered, looking at Uncle Richard's military cap.

"So do I," I observed.  "You do not take us for Godos?"

"I judge of people by their conduct, and as yet I have had no
opportunity of learning how you behave," answered the young Indian, with
a laugh.

"He is the right sort of fellow," observed Uncle Richard; "we may trust

I asked him if he had any food for my dog; and going out, he at once
returned with some pieces of flesh, off which, although somewhat
odorous, Lion made a substantial supper.

"It is the remains of a bear we killed some days ago," observed the
young Indian.

We all lay down round the fire,--Lion sleeping between Uncle Richard and
me, and both of us feeling assured that he would give us timely notice
should any danger be at hand.



For several days we had been travelling westward over the mountains.
The young Indian, Padillo, as he called himself, had proved a faithful
guide.  If we were pursued, we had evaded our enemies, and, we hoped,
had done so effectually.  The scenery through which we passed was
extremely wild and grand.  Round us appeared mountains piled on
mountains, rocks heaped on rocks; and when we fancied that we had
reached the summit of an elevation whence we could look down below,
another mountain, more grand and terrific, appeared through the veil of
mist which before had shrouded it from our sight.  It seemed as if we
should never escape from this chaos of rocky pinnacles and snow-covered
heights.  The sky above us was of a clear, bright blue; in some places
beautifully streaked, and varied with a silvery hue or pale straw
colour, but not a cloud dimming its lustre.  Severe as was the cold, as
we were in constant exercise we scarcely felt it; while the rarity of
the air imparted wonderful lightness and elasticity to our frames, so
that sometimes I could scarcely help leaping and bounding forward.  At
night we generally found shelter in a cave or under an overhanging
rock--always keeping up a blazing fire, to scare wild beasts, as well as
to afford us warmth.

At last we reached the entrance of a gloomy valley, between lofty and
snow-topped mountains, their sides in some places almost perpendicular.

"We must be prepared to push rapidly across the Paramo," observed
Padillo.  "It is late in the year, and I do not altogether like the look
of the weather.  We shall require two days at least to get to the
further end.  Frequently three days are occupied by persons on
horseback, but you march so quickly that we may do it in less time; and
there is a tambo about midway where we can obtain shelter."

"Cross it we must, at all risks," answered Uncle Richard, who was
especially eager to get back to the neighbourhood of Popayan, to
ascertain how his family were faring.  He intended also to try and raise
a corps.

It was not without reason that we dreaded passing across this bleak
region.  The name of Paramo is given to those inhospitable
desert-regions high up among the mountains, of which there are so many
in the Andes.  No human being can exist in them without keeping in
incessant and violent motion.  Artificial means are incapable of
sustaining life while a person is exposed to the inclement air.  Ardent
spirits are entirely void of any good effect, and generally increase the
evil consequences.  These Paramos are usually long deep valleys between
lofty elevations, so shut in and obscured by the neighbouring hills as
to possess all the severities of their extreme height, while not a ray
of sunshine can enter to shed its gentle influence through them.  Death
almost invariably overtakes those who attempt to rest in them
unsheltered at night.  The extent of some of them is so great that it
requires two or three days to cross them; and in these small houses have
been erected, in which cooking utensils and other articles of
convenience are kept for the accommodation of travellers, as well as
stabling for their mules.  Here, by means of large fires, they may
manage to keep themselves warm, though even then people suffer greatly.

In consequence of the highly rarefied air, the traveller at first
experiences great difficulty in breathing, accompanied by a sharp,
piercing pain at each inspiration.  This increases until he becomes what
the natives call "emparamento,"--when his extremities are benumbed, and
he can no longer continue in motion.  Soon after this he is seized with
violent raving and delirium; froth issues from his mouth; he tears the
flesh from his hands and arms with his teeth, pulls his hair, and beats
himself against the ground, meanwhile uttering the most piercing cries,
until he is quite exhausted.  The cold then deprives him of all motion
and feeling, his body becomes much swollen, and fearful distortion of
the features is produced by the dreadful convulsions he is suffering,
while the surface of his skin becomes nearly black.  The only remedy the
natives know of is to scourge each other, and to drink the cold water
from the springs, which are found here and there in most of the Paramos.

We had all of us heard this account of the Paramos, and were fully
prepared for the danger we must encounter.  Being on foot, we should the
better be able to keep ourselves warm; at the same time, we should be
the longer exposed to the piercing wind.  Already, as we mounted towards
this fearful region, we began to experience unpleasant sensations when

Having taken an ample breakfast, we determined to push on to the tambo,
where we must rest until the following morning.  It was most important
to reach it before dark, for should we be benighted our position would
become critical in the extreme.  Nerving ourselves for the undertaking,
we marched forward.  Providentially there was but little wind.  As we
advanced we saw the skeletons and carcasses of numerous mules; some
perfectly blanched by the wind, others still partly covered with flesh,
on which numberless galenachas, or black vultures, were busily feasting.
The stench proceeding from others not long dead, close to which we had
to pass, was most offensive.

"At all events, no human beings appear to have died here," I observed to
our guide.

"Don't say that, until you have got further," he answered.

In a few minutes we came in sight of a grinning skull placed on the top
of a rock, the body lying below it.  A few steps further on we came upon
the skeletons of several persons lying with their legs across their
mules; both the animal and its rider having evidently succumbed at the
same moment.

"This does not look pleasant," observed Uncle Richard; "but we must not
allow it to depress our spirits."

In spite, however, of the severe exertions we were making, we felt the
cold every instant becoming greater.  Antonio, though apparently as
strong as any of us, became so benumbed that he could scarcely walk.  He
had brought a small flask of aguardiente, which he confessed he had
drained to the bottom, but it had apparently had a bad effect on him.
At length his sufferings became so great that we began to fear we must
leave him behind, as to carry him on to the tambo would be impossible;
though, if left behind, he would certainly die in a few minutes.  While
he was in this state, Padillo volunteered to go forward, recollecting
that there was a spring in the neighbourhood, and urging us to try and
reach it.  In a short time Padillo returned with the information that
the spring was only a little way on; so, while Uncle Richard took one of
Antonio's arms, I took the other, and Padillo, with a stick, kept
beating him severely about the body.  Whenever Antonio cried out,
Padillo answered, "Never mind, friend, never mind; it's all for your
good."  At length, what with pinching his arms, and Padillo's
flagellation, he was kept alive until we reached the spring.  Here we
compelled him to drink a draught of water, though at first he showed a
great unwillingness to swallow it, like a person afflicted with
hydrophobia.  In a wonderfully short time, however, he perfectly
recovered, and declared that he felt warm and comfortable.

Uncle Richard and I then tried the experiment, as we were beginning to
feel the sensations Antonio had at first complained of.  The attempt,
however, was extremely painful; indeed, I felt as if I had swallowed a
handful of needles, the which were pricking and tearing the whole
interior of my throat in their passage downwards.  Directly I had
swallowed the water, however, I began to feel a comfortable glow, which
in a short time spread equally over me.

The delay, however, might have been fatal to all of us, as darkness had
already begun to spread over the deep valley, and we could see no tambo
ahead.  From the experience we had had, we were sure we could not rest
anywhere for an instant, while the danger was great in proceeding in the
dark.  Still Padillo said he could find the way, and led us on at a
swinging trot, we doing our utmost to keep up with him; often, however,
I felt a strong inclination to sink down and enjoy a short sleep, if
only for a minute or two.  I thought that I should soon catch up my
companions.  The wind had increased, too, and a thick sleet drove
through the air, which made us feel as if pins and needles were sticking
in our faces.

"This is very unpleasant," cried Uncle Richard; "but it won't last for
ever, that's one comfort."

The darkness increased, and the thought that we should have to go on
through such weather as this during the whole night was terrible.

Padillo was leading.  Uncle Richard made Antonio walk before him; I,
with Lion, who kept close to my heels, continued talking to Uncle
Richard for some time, until the desire to stop suddenly overpowered me.

"I hope we shall soon reach the hut," I said.

"Cheer up--in a few minutes we shall be there," I heard Uncle Richard
say, and at that instant I sank to the ground.  I heard the footsteps of
my companions as they moved on; but, seized with a kind of insanity, I
flattered myself that after a few minutes' rest I should be able to get
up and follow them.  For some time, as it appeared to me, though it may
have been only for a moment or two, my senses completely left me; then I
became conscious that Lion had placed himself above me, and was licking
my hands and face.  Then I heard him utter a loud bark; after which he
began to pull at my clothes, and bark louder and louder, until he
succeeded in arousing me.  Mercifully, I had still strength sufficient
to get up; and as I did so, Lion still pulling at my trousers, I heard
Uncle Richard's voice shouting out, "Duncan!  Duncan! come along."
Presently he appeared through the gloom; when he took my hand, and I
stumbled forward.

Soon afterwards we heard Padillo shout out, "The tambo, the tambo!"

Though we could not see him, guided by his voice we made our way to the
hut.  Antonio had already got in and thrown himself on the ground, but
Uncle Richard roused him up, and compelled him to assist in lighting the
fire.  We soon had a genial blaze, at which we warmed our chilled limbs.
I saw Lion looking up in my face, as much as to say, "Master, that was
a foolish thing you did just now; in another minute you would have been
dead, had I not kept some warmth in you with my body."  I patted his
head, and he wagged his tail, and smiled as dogs can smile when pleased.
In spite of the blazing fire we kept up all night, we felt the cold
greatly.  Indeed, I had never felt so chilled in all my life; it seemed
to pierce to the very marrow.  Lion lay down close to the fire, and
almost singed his hair, showing that he too was suffering from the cold.

Fearing that the fire might go out, Uncle Richard insisted that one of
us should remain awake; and he himself undertook to keep the first
watch.  We first took our supper, but I fell asleep with a piece of food
in my mouth.  The training Uncle Richard had had at sea enabled him to
keep awake, although I dare say he was as sleepy as any of us.

He at last aroused me, and charged me not to let the fire get low.  "I
can trust you better than I can Antonio or the guide," he observed.
"However strong may be your impulse to sleep, do not yield to it, as our
lives may depend on the fire being kept up."

I promised to keep a faithful watch, and, rising to my feet, began to
walk about.  In a moment more Uncle Richard was fast asleep.  So strong
was the desire I felt to lie down and close my eyes, that I was afraid
of stopping, and kept pacing up and down the hut, rubbing my hands
together, and every now and then putting on an additional stick, or
scraping up the ashes.  The time passed slowly by; the wind moaned amid
the bleak crags which overtopped the hut, and I fancied I heard the
cries of wild beasts.  The sleepers, overcome with fatigue, did not even
move, and as I gazed at them they looked as if stretched out in death.
Every now and then, however, Lion lifted up his head, as if to see that
all was right; and just as my watch was over, and I was about to call
Antonio, he got up and stretched himself.  "Now, Lion, if Antonio drops
asleep, remember to call me or Uncle Richard.  I will trust you, good
dog.  You understand?"  Lion wagged his tail, and gave a low bark; and I
felt confident that he would do as I had ordered him.

I then called Antonio, and gave him the same instructions and warning
which Uncle Richard had given me.

"Do not fear, senor," he answered--giving, however, an ominous yawn;
"I'll keep my eyes open."

Trusting more to Lion than Antonio, I lay down, and in a few seconds was
again fast asleep.  How long I had remained in that state I could not
tell, when I heard Lion bark close to my ear, and felt him pulling at my
clothes.  On sitting up, I saw that the fire had burned much lower than
it was when I gave up my watch, and that Antonio was asleep.  I quickly
roused him up.

"It was but for a moment, senor; my eyelids are so very heavy."

"Look at the fire!"  I exclaimed.  "It must have been a very long moment
since you put anything on.  Now, help me to make it up."

We soon had the fire blazing brightly again, and Antonio promised to
keep awake until daylight.  Had it not been for Lion, I should not have
trusted him.  He probably was not aware that the dog had aroused me.

Again I heard Lion bark loudly.  The fire, as before, had burned down,
and Antonio was again asleep; but on looking out of the door I found
that day had broken.  I was convinced that Lion had been observing the
fire rather than Antonio--considering it his duty to watch it--and that
he had called me simply because he saw that it ought to be made up.

I now awakened the whole party, and by the time we had eaten a hearty
breakfast the light had increased sufficiently to enable us to continue
our journey.

We encountered the same sad sights as on the previous day.  There were
fewer animals, but many more dead bodies,--some evidently, from their
dress, being those of women and children.

"They are those of unfortunate people who were attempting to escape from
the Godos," observed Padillo.  "The mountains hereabouts are full of the
skeletons of those who have thus perished.  But Heaven will punish our

All we saw must have died on their first day's journey across the
Paramo.  Those only who had strong mules, or who had found shelter in
the tambo, could have escaped.  But it would not do to allow our
thoughts to dwell upon the subject.  Our business was to push on as fast
as our legs would carry us.  Directly we felt any of the sensations we
had experienced on the previous day, we drank at the nearest stream we
could reach, but we did not stop to take food.

At length the fearful Paramo was passed; and yet this was only half the
size of many which exist in the country.  Before dark we reached a tambo
situated at a lower level and exposed to the free air, but even there we
felt it very cold.  In a few days we were rapidly descending, and at
last found ourselves almost on a level with the valley of the Cauca,
enjoying a tropical temperature, and on the borders of a dense forest.
By keeping more to our left we should have continued along the road to
Antioquia, but we were uncertain which party then possessed that town.
Padillo, however, volunteered to ascertain this while we remained in the
forest.  We had already paid him his well-deserved reward, with which he
seemed highly satisfied.

He had been absent some time, and we were anxiously waiting his return.

"I am afraid he has been seized by the Spaniards, or compelled to
conduct one of their parties over the mountains," I observed.

"He'll not come back, depend on that," remarked Antonio.  "He has
fulfilled his engagement, and will not trouble himself further about

"I will trust the man; and if he can, he will return," said Uncle
Richard.  "Here he comes, too!"

Presently Padillo was seen hurrying towards us.  "The Godos have
possession of all the towns and villages in this neighbourhood," he
said.  "If you wish to avoid them, you must keep further down the valley
before you cross the Cauca, and then continue up the other side.  I wish
that I could remain with you, but I know nothing of those western
mountains, and should be of no use as a guide."

He now finally took his leave, promising not to forget us.

Following his advice, we commenced our journey through the forest,--
often having to cut our way with our swords, and sometimes to wade
across rapid streams which threatened to carry us off our legs.  We ran
a risk, too, of being bitten by serpents; several of those we observed
being of large size, and others of an especially venomous character.
Tribes of monkeys were seen on either side of us, leaping from bough to
bough, and swinging on the sipos--sometimes running forward jabbering
and grinning, as if excited with anger at our daring to invade their
domains.  As our food had run short, we were compelled to shoot a couple
of the rogues for supper.

Night approaching, we made preparations for camping.  We had to guard
not only against human enemies, but against jaguars, pumas, prowling
bears, and snakes.  But having cleared a space of sufficient size, we
ran some sticks into the ground, which were interwoven with smaller
branches, so close together that no jaguar could thrust in its paw, or a
bear its snout, nor could any but the smallest snake crawl in.  We then
thatched it over with large leaves of sufficient thickness to keep out
the heaviest rain.  As close to the entrance as we dared we piled up
sticks, that we might keep a fire blazing all night.  There was
certainly some little risk in having a fire, as it might attract the
attention of any Spaniards in the neighbourhood; but we believed that we
were so far off a highroad that no enemies were likely to discover us.

Uncle Richard and I discussed our plans for the future, leaving Antonio
to go to sleep, that he might be the better able to watch when it came
to his turn.  We alternately went to sleep for some hours, until we
thought Antonio could be trusted to keep the regular watch.

I was awakened by Lion's loud bark, and by feeling him pulling at my
clothes.  Seeing that I was aroused, he next attacked Uncle Richard in
the same way.  On sitting up, what was my dismay to find that we were in
the midst of a bright blaze!  The hut was on fire.  Antonio, in order to
save himself trouble, had raked the embers close up to the entrance, and
had then fallen asleep.  Uncle Richard, seizing him by the shoulders,
dragged him out; while I caught up his gun and the rest of our
possessions, and sprang after him through the flames, followed by Lion,
who would not leave the hut until he saw us in safety.  The whole,
however, was the work of a few seconds.  Had we remained much longer,
the roof would have come down upon us, and, at all events, have burned
us severely.  As it was, we got pretty well singed.

As we looked back and saw the flames ascending, we had good cause to
fear that the trees overhead would catch fire; and if so, a fearful
conflagration might ensue.  It would be scarcely possible to cut our way
through the forest so as to escape it.  The danger, therefore, was
imminent.  Uncle Richard setting the example, we attacked the thatch,
and brought it to the ground; while with our swords we cut the grass
around wherever we saw the fire creeping along the ground.

A few minutes more, and we should have been unable to subdue the fire.
Already some of the shrubs were singed in two opposite directions, but
fortunately we saw the snake-like flames creeping forward in time to
extinguish them.

As there was no appearance of rain, we scraped the ashes of the fire
together, and placing on them a few unburnt sticks, sat ourselves down
close to it to wait until daylight, without which it would be impossible
to travel through the forest.



The morning found us hacking our way through the forest.  As we could
discover no path to follow, it was slow work, and the trees seemed to
become thicker and thicker as we advanced.  Under other circumstances,
we might have stopped to admire the wonderful variety of shrubs and
creepers which formed the undergrowth; as it was, we had to keep our
eyes constantly about us, for at any moment we might have to encounter a
huge boa or anaconda, or we might tread upon some venomous serpent, or a
tree-snake might dart down upon us from the boughs above.  Monkeys, as
before, chattered and grinned at us.  Parrots, and occasionally large
gaily-plumed macaws, flew off from amongst the topmost boughs, startled
by our approach.

Hunger and fatigue told us that we had been struggling on for some
hours, so, coming to an open space, we determined to stop and dine.
Uncle Richard, taking Antonio's gun, shot a monkey and a couple of
parrots; and Antonio and I lighted a fire at which to roast them.  But
we had no water, and the food made us feel very thirsty.  I proposed,
therefore, looking for some cocoa-nuts, which, in that part of the
country, grow a long way from the sea.  We searched around in all the
openings we could discover; at last Antonio shouted out that he had
found something which would satisfy our wants, and he appeared with a
huge melon-looking fruit under each arm.  They were the wild cherimoia,
which grow to a larger size than the cultivated ones, although not
possessing their richness.  The slight acidity of the fruit was,
however, very refreshing; and, our strength restored, we were soon able
to push on as before.

Another day of hard toil was about to close.  To pass the night without
a fire would be dangerous in the extreme, but as yet we had found no
open space in which we could venture to make one.  As long, therefore,
as the light lasted we continued to press on, in the hope of discovering
some suitable spot.  Antonio climbed up a palm, by forming his sash into
a belt which embraced the trunk--hoping to obtain a good view of the
surrounding region from the top.  He told us, on his descent, that he
had seen the glittering of a river at no great distance to the
south-west, and that we should soon be out of the forest.  Our continued
thirst, which even the fruit did not quench, made us wish to reach the
river as soon as possible; so we pushed on, and at length had the
satisfaction of getting out of the denser part of the forest, though
trees and shrubs extended down to the banks of the river.  Darkness
overtook us; but the moon rose, and we were able to move forward without
much difficulty, expecting every instant to reach the stream.

We were hurrying on, when strange sounds reached our ears.  We advanced
towards the spot from whence they proceeded, and, on an open space near
the bank of the river, we caught sight of what at a distance might have
been mistaken for a dance of demons or hobgoblins.  But as we drew near
we saw, as we had surmised, that they were Indians.  Some of them were
performing a wild dance in couples, holding their arms above their heads
and snapping their fingers; while others were seated on the ground
looking at their companions.

"There has probably been a marriage, and they are now performing the
dance which usually follows the ceremony by the light of the moon,"
observed Antonio.  "They are sure to be in good humour, and as they will
have plenty of food, they will be ready to treat us hospitably."

On this assurance we approached the strange group, but the dancers
appeared too much engaged in their amusement to notice us.  The music
was apparently produced by a sort of flageolet, accompanied by a
calabash containing some hard seeds or stones, which was rattled in time
to the wind instrument.

Some of those seated on the ground at last catching sight of us,
advanced and inquired who we were and what we wanted.  We told them that
we were travellers--our object being to reach the western side of the
valley; that we should be glad if one of them, well acquainted with the
country, would act as our guide, and that his services should be
liberally rewarded.  This at once made them friendly; and begging us to
sit down, they brought us a calabash of chica, with which they were
regaling themselves, some venison, and a variety of cooked roots, and
some fruit.  The feast was abundant, if not served in a very civilised
way, and we did ample justice to it.

We found that our new friends were, as Antonio had supposed, celebrating
the marriage of one of their young men by a moonlight dance and feast.
The happy bridegroom had just reached his eighteenth year, and his
friends had helped him to build a hut and clear a spot in the forest for
sowing maize.  Being an expert hunter, he had bought mats and earthen
pots with the produce of the chase, and had also made several utensils
in wood, besides a store of calabashes; these, with a few other
articles, served amply to furnish the abode to which he was to take his
young wife.  He had also, they told us, presented his father-in-law with
a deer, part of which we were eating.  The conjurer, who performs an
important part on such occasions, presented himself to us.  Of course he
had been invited to the feast, since he acts as the officiating minister
and declares the couple united.  Our friends, who had already indulged
somewhat freely in chica, continued passing the calabash round until
they grew very noisy; the old conjurer especially, who, with several
others, at length rolled on the ground and dropped off to sleep.  The
more sober of the party, however, assisted us in putting up a little
hut, in which we took shelter,--while they, in spite of their scanty
clothing, lay down round the fire, more for the smoke which kept off the
mosquitoes than for warmth; indeed, we were now in a complete tropical
climate, differing greatly from that of Popayan.

The provisions collected for the feast were sufficient to afford us a
good breakfast; and having rewarded our entertainers, we expressed a
wish to set out.  Instead of one guide, three volunteered to come,
saying that each of us would require one; indeed, none of them were
disposed to go alone.  We found, on reaching the river, that they
proposed proceeding down it some distance in a canoe.  This, too, would
save us from fatigue; and there would be less risk, we hoped, of our
falling in with the Spaniards.

We found, on conversing with the Indians, that they had anything but
friendly feelings for the Godos, who had carried off several of their
people, and on other occasions ill-treated them, compelling them to work
without reward.  We therefore felt ourselves perfectly safe in their
company.  Whenever we approached a spot--whether hamlet or farm--where
they thought it likely the Spaniards might be quartered, one of them
would go on ahead, and, keeping under shelter, creep up and ascertain if
such was the case.  On each occasion finding that the coast was clear,
we continued down the stream.  Throughout its course the country on
either side was wild and uncultivated, only small patches here and there
being occupied by settlers, who owned some of the vast herds of horses
and cattle roaming over the broad savannas which extend from the Cauca
to the foot of the mountains.

In this region we met with three or four Indian families of the same
tribe as our companions, and we learned from the last we encountered
that a party of Spaniards occupied a spot on the bank of the river some
way lower down, but whether they were marching north or south we could
not ascertain.  One thing was certain--we must either land on the
opposite side to that where they were posted, or pass by during the
night.  Our Indian friends decided that the latter would be the safest
plan to pursue, so we ran the canoe a short distance up a creek with
reeds on either side and thickly wooded beyond; a place which afforded
us ample concealment, while there was abundance of wild fowl to supply
us with food.

The Indians had brought some network hammocks composed of fibre, which
they hung up between the trees, and advised us to occupy while they
prepared supper.  No sooner had we landed than Uncle Richard shot a wild
turkey, which we left with the Indians, while we went along the banks of
the stream in search of ducks.  Our friends' eyes sparkled in the
anticipation of an abundant feast, as they saw us return with four brace
of fat birds.  The Indians had a big pot, into which they put some
venison they had brought with them, and some of the birds cut up, with
vegetables of various sorts.  These they stirred over the fire, and made
a very satisfactory mess, flavoured as it was with chili pepper and
other condiments.  We ate our turkey simply roasted, however, as it
suited Uncle Richard's palate and my own.

We had still some hours to wait until the Spaniards were likely to be
asleep, and the men on guard less watchful.  At present, too, the moon
was so bright that we should certainly have been seen had we attempted
to pass their camp; but clouds were gathering in the sky, and we hoped
that before long the moon would be obscured, when we might slip by on
the opposite side unobserved.  We therefore took advantage of the offer
the Indians had made us, and occupied their hammocks; while they sat
round the fire talking, and finishing the remains of the stew.  Lion had
come in for his share of the bones, and now lay down under my hammock
with his nose between his paws.  The moment I looked out he lifted up
his head, showing that, if not wide awake, he was as vigilant as need
be, and ready to give notice should there be any cause of alarm.

We were completely in the power of the Indians, no doubt, who might at
any moment have deserted us, or delivered us up to the Spaniards, or put
us to death for the sake of our clothes and whatever valuables we
carried.  But we had entire confidence in them.  It must be confessed
that foreigners have occasionally been killed by the Indians, but in all
the instances I have heard the former were the aggressors.  We had from
the first shown the simple-minded people that we trusted them, and their
wish was to prove that our confidence was not misplaced.

The night was far spent when Pacheco, our chief guide, roused us up.

"The moon has kindly veiled her face to enable us to pass the Godos
unperceived," he said.  "Up, senors, up! we will start at once."

Jumping out of our hammocks, the Indians quickly rolled them up and
carried them down to the canoe, on board which they had already placed
the rest of their property.  By their advice we lay down in the bottom.
I kept Lion by my side, so that in case he should be inclined to bark I
might at once silence him.  Pacheco steered, while the other two Indians
rapidly plied their paddles, and we glided at a quick rate down the
stream.  We soon approached that part on the northern shore at which the
Spaniards were supposed to be posted, and we therefore kept to the
opposite side.  Not a word was spoken, and we all lay close; so that,
had the canoe been seen, the enemy would have supposed that only three
Indians were in her.  We could hear the guard relieved, with the
sentries exchanging the sign and countersign; and during the time this
ceremony was going forward our canoe shot by the place without

In the hope that we were safe, we were about to get up out of our
uncomfortable position, when a voice hailed us and ordered the canoe to
be brought up to the bank.

"Paddle on!"  I heard Pacheco say to his men; and directly afterwards a
shot came whistling over our heads.  "Don't be afraid of that," again
whispered Pacheco--"we shall soon be out of sight of the Godos; although
they may fire, they will not hit us."

The Indians, without uttering a sound to show that they felt any alarm,
continued paddling away.  Shot after shot was heard; but the Spaniards
must have at length discovered that their prey had escaped them.

We continued our course until the morning, when we saw before us the
Cauca, on the opposite side of which we wished to land.  The Indians
crossed the larger river, and pulling up for some short distance, we
entered a creek thickly shaded by trees.  Here there was no risk of
being seen by enemies on the other shore.  Pacheco, who had engaged to
act as our guide, landed with us, and gave directions to his people to
wait his return.

The stream by which we had entered the Cauca had carried us much further
down the course of that river than we had intended to go; we had,
therefore, now to make our way up it before we struck westward to Oro,
the town at which I had arranged to meet Mr Laffan.  Our guide advised
us to continue along the bank of the river, as we should thus make our
way more easily than by striking diagonally across the country.  Having
carefully husbanded our powder and shot, too, we were enabled to supply
ourselves amply with food; and we were never in want of wild fruits
which in most countries would be considered very delicious.

It was towards the evening of the second day, and we were about to
encamp, when Antonio, who had gone down to fill a calabash with water at
the river, came back saying that he had seen a small party of cavalry,
who had come down to let their horses drink.

"Are they Spaniards?" asked Uncle Richard.

"No, senor; they appear to me, by their dress, to be Patriots."

On this we all crept down to the bank, keeping under shelter, to observe
the strangers; and on seeing them we were convinced that Antonio was
right.  While I was looking I observed another horseman, who by his
dress appeared to be an officer, join the people, and on watching his
movements I felt almost certain that he was my friend Juan.  So
convinced was I of this, that I advanced to the water's edge and hailed
him; but the noise of the horses prevented him hearing my voice.  "What
would I give to communicate with him!"  I exclaimed.  "Is no canoe to be
found near, by which we can cross the stream?"

I explained my wishes to Pacheco.

"If you are certain that they are friends, I will swim across," answered

I assured him of this, and hastily wrote a note to Juan, begging him to
wait for me, and I would try to get across the river to join him.

Pacheco placed the note inside his hat, on the top of which he fastened
the short trousers and girdle he wore.  He then cut two thick pieces of
bamboo, with a still larger piece pointed at both ends, and taking them
in his hand plunged into the water.

"Are you not afraid of the alligators?" asked Uncle Richard, under the
idea that those creatures frequented the stream.

"There are few above the rapids, and those only of small size," answered
Pacheco; "if one comes near me, he will feel the point of this bamboo."

Resting his chest on the stout pieces of cane, and striking out with his
hands and feet, he made rapid progress towards the opposite shore.  At
length Juan saw him coming, and at the same time observed us waving,
though he might not have known who we were.  He probably guessed,
however, that we were friends, and that the Indian was coming across to
speak to him, for he rode towards the spot where our guide was about to

Pacheco gave Juan the note, and I saw him take a paper from his pocket
and write an answer, which he delivered to the Indian, who, without
stopping to rest, recrossed the river.  Once I saw him give a dig with
his bamboo, but the object at which he aimed was not visible.  It might
have been an alligator, or a water-snake, or a big fish; but it seemed
to concern him very little, for he again came towards us, and landed in

I eagerly took Juan's note.

"I will wait for you," it ran.  "Come across, if you can find a canoe;
if not, wave your handkerchief, and I will have a raft formed, and come
for you.  No time for more.--Juan."

As Pacheco assured us that we were not likely to find a canoe within a
considerable distance, I at once made the sign agreed on, whereupon I
saw Juan's men immediately begin to cut down with their manchettes a
number of large canes which grew near.  These they bound together with
sipos, and in a very short time a raft sufficiently large to bear
several persons was formed.  The thick ends of some of the canes were
shaped into scoop-like paddles, and Juan with four of his men at once
embarked and commenced the passage of the river.  As soon as the raft
was sufficiently near the shore he sprang to the land, and embraced
Uncle Richard and me.  He looked paler and considerably older than when
we last parted, and as if he had seen much hard work.

Uncle Richard's first question was, very naturally, for his wife and
daughter; and I too asked after my family.

"They are still residing among the mountains, among some faithful
Indians, with Paul Lobo as their guardian.  Dr Sinclair thinks it
prudent to keep in hiding while the Godos occupy Popayan, in case the
monster Murillo should order his arrest.  I lately heard that he was
well, in spite of the trying life he, in common with so many other
Patriots, is obliged to lead."

"And Dona Dolores?"  I asked.

"She is safe with your mother and Dona Maria; I myself escorted her to
their cottage, after I had the happiness of rescuing her from the

"Is she aware of her father's death?"  I inquired.

"What!" exclaimed Juan, "has the tyrant dared to murder the old man?"

"I grieve to say so; as well as my poor uncle, Dr Cazalla, and many
other of our country's noblest Patriots."

Juan lifted his hands to heaven, and prayed that their deaths might be
avenged.  What a change a few months had produced in him!  Instead of
the gay, thoughtless youth, he was now the stern soldier, ready to dare
and do any deed full of peril.  I told him of the murder of Dona Paula;
at hearing which his eyes flashed fire, while he uttered expressions I
dare not repeat.

I asked him what object he had in view in coming in this direction.

"I am proceeding to Llano Grande, for the purpose of collecting horses,
and training them for our cavalry, as a large number of those in my
troop have died from hard work and exposure on the Paramo of Purace,
when we crossed the mountains to attack the Spanish convoy.  I earnestly
hope that you, Duncan, will join me; you will be of the greatest
assistance, and I am certain that you are not required to help your
father or mother.  They are less likely to be molested than if it were
known that you had joined them."

I felt a great desire to accept Juan's proposal, and put it to Uncle
Richard whether I might not do so.

He considered a minute.  "Yes; I see no objection," he answered.  "I
will continue my journey with Antonio, and try to communicate with Mr
Laffan.  Possibly he may join you, and be of service."

Accordingly, without hesitation, I at once agreed to accompany Juan; and
wishing my Uncle Richard and his two companions farewell, I embarked
with my friend.

"As soon as I have seen Senor Ricardo safe, I intend to make my way back
to rejoin you," said Antonio.  "If you are going to tame wild horses,
you will find it a long business, and are not likely to have left the
neighbourhood before I can get back to you."

Juan told me that he intended to ride some miles further before camping,
as we were near a Spanish force; and should the enemy gain intelligence
of us, they might attempt to surprise us.

When Lion saw me embark, he gave a look at his former master, as if to
ask which of us he should accompany; but Uncle Richard pointed to me,
and he immediately leaped on the raft.

By the time we landed, Juan's small troop were in readiness to move on.
He had, fortunately, a spare horse, which I mounted; and I confess that
I felt my spirits rise wonderfully when I found myself in the saddle,
after so many days' journeying on foot.

We rode on until we reached the borders of a wood which would serve to
shelter our camp-fires.  There the horses were picketed, while patrols
were sent out to give due notice of danger.  Though in our native land,
we had to act as if in an enemy's country.  However, we invariably found
the country-people ready to give us all the information we required as
to the whereabouts of the Spaniards, and were thus able to avoid them.
Had it not been for this, the Patriots would have been crushed by the
superior force the Spaniards were bringing against them.  While we could
always learn the movements of our enemies, and obtain an ample supply of
food, the Spaniards were unable even to trust their own spies; and it
was only by means of strong foraging-parties that they could collect

We thus reached our destination,--a farmhouse situated on a slope at the
foot of the mountains, with the wide llanos stretching out before it.
Having an extensive view over the plain from this point, we could see
the approach of an enemy from a great distance; and, according to the
strength of their force, we might either prepare for resistance, or make
our escape.  An enclosure ran round it, formed by trunks of trees driven
into the ground close together.  It had been formed years before, for
the purpose of resisting attacks by the Indians, and would still enable
a body of men to hold their own against any small force of infantry or
cavalry, though, for the present, we did not expect to be molested.

The men Juan had brought with him were accustomed to the life of the
llanos, and no time was lost in commencing the work for which they had
come.  The very next morning the whole party started off provided with
lassoes,--Juan and I accompanying them.  The herds of wild horses were
accustomed to come close up to the farm, so that we had not to go far
before we fell in with a herd.  The men then separated into parties of
two, forming a circle round the animals they wished to capture.  The
wild horses, seeing strangers advancing from all sides, closed up
towards the centre, not knowing in which direction to make their escape;
when the men galloped forward, lasso in hand, each singling out an
animal, round whose neck he seldom failed to throw the noose.  The horse
would then dash forward, but was as speedily brought up by the rope; and
the well-trained steed of the Llanero, throwing itself back, and
pressing its fore, feet against the ground, effectually checked it, and
threw it upon its haunches, or right over on its back.  Another Llanero
would then dexterously cast his lasso round the animal's fore-feet, and
by a jerk bring it round its legs.  By slightly slackening the rope
round its neck, the horse was enabled to get up, when its first impulse
was to dash forward; but it was brought to the ground by the lasso round
its legs, with a jerk sufficient, it would seem, to break every bone in
its body.  The horse would then lie motionless while its hind feet were

The first horse I saw caught in this manner, I thought was dead; but
after a time it regained its consciousness, and, giving some convulsive
plunges, again got on its legs.  Before it had even time to look about,
it was led off by some of the Llaneros to a post near the farm, where,
in spite of its desperate struggles, it was saddled and bridled.  Its
strength regained, it began to bite, plunge, and kick in all directions,
the Llaneros nimbly getting out of the way.  One of the more experienced
riders, watching his opportunity, then leaped into the saddle, and
signed to one of his companions to cast off the lasso from its legs.
The animal, finding itself free, darted off, and then commenced to back,
plunge, and whisk round and round, sometimes dashing on for a few paces
at a furious pace, and then recommencing its eccentric movements.  The
rider, however, stuck on; and another Llanero coming behind,
administered a lash with his long cutting whip, which made the poor
animal start off with a snort like a scream.  No one but a well-trained
horseman could have kept his seat in the way our men did.  As it darted
ahead, two other Llaneros rode on either side to keep the wild animal
straight.  Off it went across the level country for a league or more,
occasionally stopping to back and kick; each time its efforts grew
fainter, until at last we saw it come back, its eyes bloodshot, its
whole body covered with foam and blood, and perfectly bewildered.  It
was then unsaddled and tied to a post, there to remain until hunger made
it willing to accept the food and water offered to it.  Thus, in the
course of a day a number of horses were captured; but they were all
young animals, and as yet scarcely fit for work.

Next came the operation of breaking them in, which occupied a much
longer time.  In this, Juan and I took a part.  Every man we had with us
was engaged from sunrise to sunset--or even later, when the moon shone
brightly--as it was of the greatest importance to have some well-trained
animals ready for service as soon as possible.

Fresh men continued to arrive, having made their way over the mountains
to avoid the Spaniards, bringing their saddles and bridles, arms and
accoutrements.  Of course, they at once took part in catching and
training the horses.  The young animals were most easily broken-in, but
they were less capable of enduring fatigue than the older horses.

We had been about a month thus engaged, when, as Juan and I were leaving
the farm for an afternoon's sport, as we called it, we caught sight of a
horseman--evidently, from his costume, not one of our own men--galloping
across the plain towards us.  As he drew nearer, I thought I recognised
his bearing and figure.

"Hurrah!"  I exclaimed; "I believe that's Mr Laffan."

"I hope so, indeed," answered Juan.  "He will be a host in himself; and
I suspect he will be able to train a horse as well as the best of us."

Mounting our steeds, we galloped forward to meet him; and with unfeigned
pleasure I soon saw that it was no other than my former tutor.

"I am thankful to fall in with you again, my dear fellows," he
exclaimed.  "I thought at one time that I should never have got here.
Mr Duffield told me where to find you, but those rascally Spaniards
nearly caught me.  I escaped them, but I had to hide away for several
days until the coast was clear.  However, here I am, and shall be mighty
glad of some food, for I'm desperately sharp-set."

We returned to the farm with Mr Laffan, where we gave him our usual
fare,--dried beef and plantains; for we were not living luxuriously.
Except some chica, we had no beverage stronger than coffee or cocoa to
offer him; but he declared that such provender would serve him as well
as any other.

As soon as the meal was over, Mr Laffan begged to have a fresh horse,
and insisted on accompanying us.  "I have had a little experience in
this sort of work," he said, "and may be able to catch a horse or two.
At all events, I can break-in a few.  I have no wish to eat the bread of

Mr Laffan was as good as his word, and took good care to select a
first-rate animal for himself, which, by dint of constant practice, he
got well broken-in.  Juan and I were equally fortunate, and were much
indebted to him for the training of our steeds.

As few persons came near the farm, which was remote from all
thoroughfare, the Spaniards did not get notice of our proceedings; and
we were thus, by dint of hard work, and the valuable assistance rendered
by Mr Laffan, able to get together a very efficient body of cavalry.



Important events had meanwhile been taking place.  Bolivar had assembled
a considerable army, of which upwards of two thousand foreign troops--
mostly disbanded British soldiers--formed the most serviceable part.
Whenever they met the enemy, the English exhibited the hardihood and
courage which they had displayed on many hard-fought fields in the
Peninsula, and lately at Waterloo.  We heard, too, that they were led by
several experienced officers who had taken part in those campaigns.

The fearful atrocities which had been committed by Murillo, Boves,
Morales, indeed by almost all the Spanish generals, had aroused the
spirit of the people throughout the country, and we looked forward to
the time when we should free our beloved land from the presence of the
hated tyrants.

At length being considered in an efficient state, with wild delight we
received orders to join the Patriot forces.  Before long we had several
skirmishes with the enemy, and in a gallant charge--in which Mr Laffan
distinguished himself--we put to flight a superior force of King
Ferdinand's hussars.  These hussars were the scorn of our wild horsemen,
and the contrast between the two was great indeed.  The arms and
appointments of the hussar were a sad encumbrance in this climate.  He
had his lance, sword, carbine, and a brace of pistols; and his clothing
and trappings were those of a Hungarian trooper.  He was obliged to have
his horse's tail cut short, for on several occasions a Llanero was known
to have galloped up to the rear of a trooper, dismounted in an instant,
and seizing the horse by its long tail, by a sudden jerk contrived to
throw it on the ground, and then despatched the rider.  Our fellows,
when charging, used to lay their heads and bodies on the necks of their
horses, carrying their lances horizontally in the right hand about the
height of the knee, so that when the Spaniards fired they seldom managed
to hit them.

I was seated with Juan in the hut which formed our headquarters.  We had
not troubled ourselves with tents, for our men slept on the ground
during the dry season, except when we were quartered in a farmhouse or a
village.  We had been talking over the prospects of the campaign, when
an orderly, riding up to the entrance of the hut, delivered a despatch
to Juan.  He read it eagerly.

"We are ordered to ride on to the Pass of Guamoco, as no infantry can
reach it in time to prevent the Spaniards--who are marching towards it--
obtaining possession," he said.  "Order the assembly to be sounded,

While I hastened to carry out his order, he hurriedly wrote a few lines
on a rough piece of paper, which had not a very official appearance, and
gave it to the orderly, directing him to deliver it to the general.  In
a wonderfully short time we were in the saddle, and moving towards our

Juan then told me that he had been directed to take possession of a fort
of some strength, which guarded the entrance of a pass through which
Bolivar intended to make his way, but which, if occupied by the enemy,
would be impracticable.  It was thus of the greatest importance that we
should take possession of it.  "The general orders me to hold the fort
until an infantry regiment arrives to garrison it," added Juan.

"I hope they will put the best foot foremost, then, for I have no wish
to be cooped up in a fort when we should be doing service in the open
country," said Mr Laffan.

We pressed forward at a rate which none but light horsemen such as ours
could have kept up.  Nothing stopped us: up hills and across valleys we
scampered; pushed through forests, or waded over marshes; forded or swam
rivers when they crossed our way, without a moment's hesitation.  We
ran, indeed, a regular steeplechase.  We were obliged to camp at night,
however, to rest and feed our horses; but during the day we halted not a
moment longer than was absolutely necessary.  Hardy as were our steeds,
they at length began to show signs of fatigue, but Juan encouraged the
men to proceed.

"They will have time enough to rest when they get to the fort," he
said,--"provided the enemy are not there before us."

We had gone on all day, and were still about four leagues from our
destination when night overtook us.  The road ahead, our guide informed
us, was worse than any we had yet passed over, and that had been bad
enough.  It would be dangerous, he said, if not altogether impossible,
to get our weary steeds over the ground in the dark.  Still Juan,
obedient to orders, would have continued the route, when a thunderstorm,
which had been for some time gathering in the sky, burst over our heads.
We were, fortunately, near a farm with a number of outbuildings and
sheds about it, beneath which we took shelter.  The rain fell literally
in sheets of water, which quickly flooded the road; the lightning
flashed with a vividness I had seldom before seen; and the thunder
rattled and crashed as if huge rocks, rather than impalpable clouds,
were being hurled against each other.

Juan now saw that it would be impracticable to advance until daylight;
but he also knew that the enemy would not venture to march, so that,
even if they were at an equal distance from the fort, we should get
there first.  He accordingly announced that he should remain during the
night; so the men employed themselves in cooking their supper, rubbing
down their horses, and in other ways, until they lay down to sleep in
the driest spot they could find.  The officers occupied one of the rooms
of the house.

It was somewhere about two or three o'clock in the morning when Juan
roused me up.

"I intend to ride on ahead of the party, in order to reach an elevated
spot by daybreak, from whence I can take a survey of the fort and the
surrounding country, and therefore learn the ground on which we may
possibly have to operate," said he.  "You will come with me, Duncan?"

I sprang to my feet.  "I am ready to set out immediately," I answered,
giving myself a shake.

Juan's servant brought us some cups of coffee, which we drank while our
horses were being got ready, and in less than five minutes we had
mounted.  The storm had passed away, and innumerable stars shone out in
the blue sky with wonderful brilliancy.  We were obliged, however, to
walk our horses, as it was with difficulty we could in many places see
the road.  Our last day's journey had been over ground of a considerable
elevation, and we were still ascending.

Daylight broke while we were still on the road, and pushing on our
horses, we reached the spot for which we were aiming.  It was a lofty
bluff with precipitous cliffs below us, beneath which there were several
lesser elevations, and beyond, a wide valley opening into a vast plain.
We here found ourselves far above the clouds, which spread like a canopy
over the scene at our feet--a few tree-tops, the tower of a village
church, and here and there, perched on heights, the roofs of some
farmhouses.  Immediately below us was the fort we were to occupy.  It
seemed as if we could almost leap down into it; though it was in reality
too far off to be commanded from the height on which we stood, even had
the enemy dragged up guns; but the path by which we had come was
altogether impracticable for artillery, so we had no fear on that score.
A short distance beyond the fort ran a rapid stream, which, descending
from the mountains on our left, passed through the valley, and
contributed materially to the strength of the position, as troops
marching to the attack would have to ford it in face of the fire from
the garrison.  As far as we could see, the fort was still unoccupied;
but the mist prevented us ascertaining positively if this was the case.

"I would that the clouds were away," said Juan, "to learn whether they
are now concealing our approaching foes!"

Here and there the mist appeared to be breaking or rising, and we
watched eagerly for the moment when the whole face of the country would
be exposed to view.

"Our men ought by this time to have got nearly round to the fort,"
observed Juan, looking at his watch; "and once inside, I hope that we
shall be able to defend it against the Spaniards, though they may come
only a few minutes after we have taken possession."

The sun now rose over the mountain-tops, his beams gradually dispelling
the mists which had obscured the view.  Still they hung over the valley,
and we remained uncertain as to whether the enemy had had time to reach
the fort below us.  While we were thus eagerly watching, we caught sight
of the head of our column rounding the foot of the mountain; but though
visible to us, it could not as yet be seen by any one in the fort, and
we were thus still in doubt as to the important fact we wished to

"I gave directions to Captain Laffan to send forward and find out
whether the fort was occupied, before exposing the troop to view," said

As he spoke we saw two of the horsemen ride forward, and Juan resolved
to remain until the result was known.  We now took a careful survey of
the country before us.

"I can nowhere see a body moving which has the appearance of troops,"
observed Juan.  "But there are so many woods and inequalities in the
ground by which they might be concealed, that we must not trust to that.
If, however, they have not already got possession of the fort, we shall
have ample time to make such preparations as may be required for our
defence.  Duncan, take you the glass and see if you can discover
anything which may have escaped my eye."

I did as he requested, and swept the surrounding country again and
again.  At last I saw what I thought looked like a dark shadow creeping
slowly along over the brow of a hill from the westward, and descending
towards us.  Here and there was a slight glitter, as if the sun's rays
were playing on polished steel.

I handed the glass to Juan, who was soon satisfied that what we saw was
a body of troops.  As, however, they were still some leagues away, and
as they had a river to cross and some heights to climb, it would be
several hours before they could reach the fort.  We now felt sure that
it, at all events, was not yet occupied.  Dismounting, therefore, we led
our horses down a steep path, by which we were at length able to rejoin
our regiment.  About the same time the scouts came back with the
information that the fort was unoccupied.  We accordingly rode forward
and took possession.

It consisted of a strong stockade composed of whole logs of wood, with a
deep trench in front of it.  The huts were in a very dilapidated
condition, but they would still afford some shelter to the garrison;
while a stone tower in the centre, also surrounded by a trench, formed a
sort of citadel as well as a storehouse.  It comprised a ground floor,
with a vault beneath, which served as a magazine, and two stories above
without any divisions.  In one of these were a few rough articles of
furniture, which had been intended for the use of officers; and in the
upper story, which had been used as an hospital, were a number of
bedsteads covered with hides; while above the roof was a loopholed wall
running all round, for musketry.  Behind the fort was a wide space
completely protected by impracticable heights and the fort in front, on
which our horses could be turned out to graze.  The Spaniards had most
unaccountably left behind three guns, which, though spiked, were
serviceable in other respects; and in the storeroom we found shot for

We had brought, I should have said, nearly two dozen horse-loads of
ammunition--including powder for the guns which we had hoped to find--as
well as the same number of animals laden with provisions.  But, of
course, as they had to travel as fast as our horses, they could carry
but a very limited load.

Not a moment was lost in setting to work to repair the fort.  Juan told
the men how we had seen the enemy approaching, and consequently they
laboured away with might and main.  Trees were cut down from the
hill-side above the fort, and dragged in to repair the stockade.  The
trench was cleared out; and shelter erected for the horses, which it
would be absolutely necessary to retain inside in case of requiring them
on an emergency.  The men, accustomed from their earliest days to hard
labour, toiled away without cessation.  By night we had repaired the
fort, and were ready for our enemies should they appear; but as yet we
had not got a sight of them, and I began to fancy that Juan and I had
been mistaken.  Under Mr Laffan's directions, our farriers had
contrived to extract the nails with which the guns were spiked, and all
three were mounted and got into position during the night.  A vigilant
watch was kept, for should the enemy really have been approaching, they
would very probably attack us before daylight.

Morning, however, came, and no sign of the foe being in sight.  Though
we had a flag with us, and a flagstaff stood in the fort, Juan would not
have it hoisted; while the men were directed to keep as much under cover
as possible, so that the Spaniards might not discover we had possession
of the fort.

All the work outside had been finished, but we continued strengthening
it, and making such, improvements as were necessary in the inside.

It was about noon when one of the sentries gave notice that he saw some
people on the opposite side of the river.  We watched them.  Evidently
they were Spanish officers reconnoitring the fort, and from their
movements they seemed to doubt whether it was already occupied.  At
last, apparently satisfied that they were in time to take possession,
two of them began to ford the stream.  Before they had got half-way
over, however, several of our men, without orders, fired, and they both
fell, being carried down by the current.  Juan rebuked his followers for
this wanton act--at which the men seemed very much astonished.  Several
others who were following, and of whom we caught a glimpse, immediately

We now expected every moment to see the main body approaching to the
assault, as it was not likely they would allow us to retain peaceable
possession of so important a post, if they fancied they could capture
it.  Mr Laffan had charge of the guns, with the few men among us who
had ever had any practice with artillery.  There were, however, no more
than two to each gun who had loaded and fired one before.  Mr Laffan
had to keep running backwards and forwards, to see that they put in the
powder first and the shot afterwards, and rammed it home.  In a short
time the Spaniards advanced under cover, showed themselves on the bank
of the stream, where they extended their line, and commenced a hot fire
at the fort.  We, keeping under shelter, did not reply to it until they
commenced crossing the stream, when we opened on them with our guns.
They evidently had not supposed that we possessed artillery; for they
were at once thrown into confusion, and began to retreat, when numbers
were brought down by our musketry, while our guns, being reloaded, again
sent their shot among them.

We now ran up the Republican flag and shouted "Victory;" but we were
mistaken in supposing that the enemy were put to flight.  In the course
of a short time a far larger body appeared, led by other officers, who
behaved with great courage.  At once they dashed across the stream,--we
receiving them with a hot fire, our men loading and discharging their
pieces as fast as they could, while our guns, considering the
inexperience of the gunners, were well served.  I could scarcely help
smiling as I saw my old dominie spring from gun to gun, and point it at
the thickest of the foe.  One of the officers who appeared in command
must have fallen, and although the others behaved with considerable
gallantry, they failed to induce the men to come up to the stockades.
Once more they retired across the stream, and many lost their lives.

After this they contented themselves with getting behind such cover as
they could find, and firing at the fort.  Had they possessed guns, the
tables would, I suspect, soon have been turned, as our comparatively
light defence must quickly have been knocked to pieces.  The thickness
of the stockades, however, prevented their bullets from entering, and a
few only of our men who exposed themselves were hit,--two being killed,
and three wounded.  Out of our small garrison, however, that number was
of consequence.

We continued firing away with the guns and musketry at the points where
the Spaniards were concealed, but what damage we produced among them we
could not tell.  This style of fighting lasted several hours, while we
every moment expected to be again attacked.  Not a Spaniard who had
fallen wounded was allowed to live, for our bullets quickly put them out
of their pain.

At length the firing ceased, and we saw the enemy retiring--a round shot
or two sent after them by Mr Laffan expediting their movements.  The
victory was decidedly on our side; but we knew full well that we might
again be attacked by a superior force, and perhaps that very night.
Therefore, as before, a vigilant watch was kept, so that, should they
attempt a surprise, we might be ready to receive them.



Juan and most of our little garrison exulted in the idea that, after the
defeat we had inflicted on the Spaniards, they would abandon the attempt
to take the fort, and retire from the neighbourhood.

"Do not be too sure of that," said Captain Laffan; "they will watch
their opportunity, and attempt to surprise us if we are off our guard.
They know the value of the pass too well to leave us in quiet
possession.  They may be looking all this time for a path over the
mountains, to try and take us in the rear; though they would find that a
hard matter, to be sure."

Juan, however, still persisted in his belief that the Spaniards had
retired, and turned their attention to some other enterprise.  Fearing
that this opinion would make him and his followers less vigilant, I
volunteered to go out and reconnoitre.

"You shall not go alone," said Mr Laffan.

"No," I answered; "I intend to take Lion with me."

"I intend to go also," he replied.  "I have done a little skirmishing in
my day, and three pairs of eyes will take in more than two.  Indeed, I
do not think you should count much on the services Lion may render."

"He will, at all events, give us timely notice should we get near a
sentinel, or should one of the enemy approach us," I remarked.

"You are right," answered Mr Laffan.  "We will go together; and I am
pretty strongly of opinion that we shall bring Don Juan word that the
enemy are not far off."

"But shall we go by night or day?"  I asked.

"At night we should have the advantage of being able to get up to the
enemy without being seen," said Mr Laffan; "but we should be quite as
likely to find ourselves in their midst before we had discovered where
they were.  Whereas in daylight, though we may find more difficulty in
approaching them, we shall be able to see any of their men moving about
at a distance.  During the day, too, they will be less likely to be on
the watch for scouts."

It was finally settled, after a discussion in which Juan and the other
officers took part, that we should leave the fort just before dawn, and
remain concealed until daylight, when we were to make our way in the
direction in which it was most probable that we should find the
Spaniards, if they were still in the neighbourhood.  This plan was
finally agreed on; and Captain Laffan, Lion, and I, at the hour fixed
on, left the fort, and made our way across the river to a grove of trees
which afforded us sufficient concealment; while, should the Spaniards
themselves have sent out any reconnoitring party to ascertain what we
were about, we should to a certainty discover them.

As soon as it was daylight we continued our route, Lion going on just
before me, and turning round frequently to see if I was following.  By
his conduct, I was very sure that he understood the object of our
expedition.  We kept as much as possible under cover; occasionally when
we came to open ground we ran across it in a stooping posture, so that,
should we be seen by those at a distance, we might be mistaken for
animals.  We had gone nearly a league without observing a human being,
when we caught sight of a small hamlet in the distance, with a wood on
one side, and a stream partly encircling it.

"That's a likely place for the enemy to have occupied," observed Mr
Laffan; "and if they are in the neighbourhood, we shall find them

We now approached more cautiously than before, while Lion showed a
considerable amount of excitement, as if he believed that an enemy was
near.  Presently he stopped short, then advanced slowly, like a tiger
stealing on its prey, glancing back every now and then to ascertain if
we were following.  Again he stopped, and then came running towards us,
when, placing himself directly before me, he pointed with his nose in
the direction he had before been taking.

We at once guessed that some one was concealed behind the brushwood; but
if a sentry, he had not discovered us, or he would have fired.  We
accordingly determined to seize him and gain what information we could.
Making a sign to Lion to keep behind, we cautiously crept on, bending
almost to the ground, and completely hidden by the bushes.  I made a
motion to Lion to seize the man, if there was one.  He understood me;
and as he sprang forward we heard a half-stifled cry.  The next instant
we saw Lion struggling with a soldier, who had dropped his musket, and
was endeavouring to draw his knife to thrust into the dog's body.

We grasped the fellow's arms, and quickly mastered him.  It was at once
evident that he had been sitting down, while we were approaching, to
light his cigarrillo; or perhaps he might have dropped off to sleep.
Releasing him from Lion, we threatened him with instant death if he
opened his mouth or attempted to escape.  Then, each of us taking an
arm, we dragged him along towards the fort.

"If we carry this fellow with us, he will to a certainty be put to
death," I observed to Mr Laffan.

"I don't like the idea of that," said he.

"Nor do I," I answered.  "The best thing we can do is to get what
information we can out of him, then bind him to a tree, and leave him.
The Spaniards will discover him in time, and will yet be none the

"A good idea," said Mr Laffan.

The captive Spanish soldier looked imploringly at us, fully expecting
that his minutes were numbered.

"We do not intend to kill you," I said, "if you will give us a faithful
account of the number of troops in this neighbourhood, and what it is
intended they should do,--whether they are about to attack the fort
again, or to march away; and if so, where they are going."

"Have I your word of honour?" asked the Spaniard, looking at me, very
much puzzled to know who I could be, as he heard me speak in English,
and then address him in genuine Spanish.

"You have my word.  We have no wish to murder our enemies," said I.

"That's more than I can say for my countrymen," he answered.  "I will
tell you frankly, senor.  There are a thousand men in yonder camp.  It
was intended to attack you again to-night.  Our officers have resolved
to capture the fort at all risks, and they have told the men it must be
done.  If you will undertake, senor, to protect my life, I will follow
you, and serve you faithfully.  I would rather do that than have again
to assault yonder fort."

"I believe what you say," I answered; "but I cannot venture to take you
with me, for the Patriots would instantly put you to death, as they have
vowed to do with every Spaniard who falls into their hands."

"I must submit to my hard fate, then," said the man.

"You will regain your liberty in a few hours," observed Captain Laffan.

"Ah, senor, if I am caught I shall be shot for sleeping at my post.  If
you will give me my liberty I will run away, and not again fight against

"The very best thing such a fellow as you can do.  I think we may trust
you," said Captain Laffan.

We led our prisoner on until within a short distance of the fort, when,
instead of binding him, we let him go.  He bolted away to the
northward,--showing that he fully intended to carry out his promise.

On our return to Juan, he thanked us warmly for the service we had

As may be supposed, we were all on the watch; and about two hours before
dawn we caught sight of the Spaniards advancing to the attack.  As they
crossed the river, we opened a heavy fire upon them; to which they
replied, and then rushed forward, attempting to storm the stockades.
The fort, from one side to the other, was in a blaze of light.  Each man
was fighting with desperation, and hurling back those who crossed the
ditch and endeavoured to climb the walls.  After the Spaniards had made
several desperate attempts, they were driven back; and again getting
under shelter, contented themselves with keeping up a hot fire at us.
We, of course, replied in the same fashion; but, except that both
parties expended a large amount of powder and shot, no great loss was
suffered.  In the attack a considerable number had been killed and
wounded, and not a few of our own men had been hit.

We waited, fully expecting that with the return of daylight the enemy
would make another assault.  And we were not mistaken; but the result
was the same as before, though I cannot say that, had they persevered,
they would not have got in.  Greatly to our relief, however, we heard
the recall sounded.  Once more they retired; and two of our men sallying
out, traced them back to their former quarters.

We were for some time employed in repairing the damage done to the fort,
and in attending to the wounded; and while we buried our own dead, we
sent out a party to throw the Spaniards who had fallen in the river, as
the easiest way of disposing of them.  Several poor fellows who were
found wounded were mercilessly bayoneted, in spite of all Juan, Mr
Laffan, and I could urge to the contrary.  Our men were generally
sufficiently obedient; but when told to spare their enemies, who could
no longer oppose them, they turned away with scowling countenances, not
even deigning to reply--evidently resolved to carry out the fearful
spirit of revenge which animated them.

Our men were again rejoicing at having repulsed our foes, when Juan
summoned us to a council of war.

"Though we may rejoice at the victory we have gained," he said, "yet it
has been dearly bought by the death of so many of the garrison, and by
the expenditure I find, of nearly all our ammunition.  Should another
attack be made, we have not a sufficient supply to repulse the enemy.
Still I know that you and all my men will fight to the last, and that we
may offer an effectual resistance with our spears and swords.  We are
ordered to hold this post, and I am resolved not to quit it alive, or we
might possibly cut our way through the enemy.  After the losses they
have received, they may not attack us for some time; so I propose to
send off any two of you who may be willing to go, to endeavour to reach
the general and obtain reinforcements, as well as a further supply of
ammunition and provisions; though, in regard to the latter, we can live
on horse-flesh, if need be, until assistance reaches us."

Juan looked at the other officers; but they made no reply.  He then
turned to Captain Laffan and me.  "Are you willing to go?" he asked.

"With all my heart," answered Captain Laffan; "and I am sure I may say
the same for Duncan.  We gained some experience of the country in our
reconnaissance the other day, and I feel sure we shall get off without
being discovered."

"I am perfectly ready to go," I added; "but I am very unwilling to leave
you, Don Juan, in so critical a position."

"Think not of me," answered Juan.  "I have a duty to perform, and I may
well rejoice if I am called upon to die for the sake of my country."

We accordingly settled that we were to set out about three hours before
dawn, which would give us time to get beyond the enemy, and out of their
sight, when we should have the advantage of daylight for seeing our way.
I confess I felt more out of spirits than usual when I bade my friend
Juan farewell.  A presentiment of evil oppressed me, as I thought of the
dangers by which he was beset.

It was shortly after two o'clock in the morning, when Mr Laffan and I,
having our horses' hoofs muffled, and followed, of course, by Lion, led
them down to the river; crossing which, we took the road we had before
followed for some distance.  We then turned to the left, along the base
of the hills.  Between these and the hamlet occupied by the enemy, it
was possible that patrols might be met with, and if so we had agreed to
mount and cut our way through them.  As we were on foot, we hoped that
we should not be perceived until close upon the enemy; we should then
have a good chance of escaping.  We trudged on, therefore, holding our
horses by the left rein, so that we might mount in a moment.

We had got a good way to the westward, and, as we fancied, clear of the
enemy, when, on doubling a high rock, round which the path led, we came
suddenly upon a picket.  Owing to the precautions we had taken, however,
they did not hear or see us until almost within a dozen paces.  To leap
on our horses and dig our spurs into their flanks, was the work of a
moment; and before the Spanish soldiers could spring forward and seize
our reins, we had already got to a considerable distance beyond them.
They immediately opened fire, but, owing to the darkness and their
surprise, took very bad aim.  Possibly, not hearing any sound, they took
us for phantom horsemen; but they continued to pepper away in the
direction we had taken, long after the darkness had hidden us from their

Not supposing that we should meet with another picket, we now dashed
forward at full speed, the increasing light enabling us to see our way.
Our horses, being perfectly fresh, went on for several leagues without
flagging, and we now felt confident that there was but little chance of
our being pursued.  Not, however, being acquainted with the country, we
knew that unless we could obtain a guide we should very likely lose our
way, or take a much longer route than was necessary.  With this object
in view, therefore, seeing a small town on our right we rode towards it,
to procure the assistance we required, and obtain refreshments for
ourselves and steeds.  Being uncertain who had possession of the place,
I rode into the town, as I could pass there for an Englishman or a
Spaniard, as the case might necessitate.  I could thus obtain the
information, while Mr Laffan remained on watch at some distance.

The place at first appeared deserted; but at length I saw three persons.
One was lying in front of a door-step, another was apparently watching
him,--both being badly wounded,--while a third, leaning against the
wall, watched me as I approached.

"Friends," I asked, "what has happened lately in this town?"

"The Godos have passed through it, and as we were Patriots they burned
down a large part, and killed most of us.  Look at yonder woman; she
alone survives of all her family.  You see almost all the remaining
inhabitants," and the speaker uttered a bitter laugh.

"I can feel for you, for I am a Patriot," I answered; "and I want to
find my way to the army of General Bolivar."

"I would act as your guide, but I have no horse," answered the man; "and
I could not sit one if I had; look here, senor,"--and he showed me a
severe wound on his side.  "Nor can we help you," he continued, "for
there is no young man left in the place who would be able to go; but I
can direct you on your road.  And you will rejoice to hear, senor, that
the last news which reached us is that the general has beaten the
accursed Godos; though whether it is true I know not.  Good news never
travels so fast as ill news."

I tried to cheer my new friend, and he undertook to obtain some
refreshments for us.

"You may enter any of the houses you please, for most of them are empty;
but to mine you are welcome."

While he went to find some food and fodder for our horses, I rode back
to where I had left Mr Laffan.

On our return we found plenty of fodder for our horses, but the fare
with which we were supplied was very scanty, almost everything having
been carried off by the plunderers.

"If, however, we would wait," our host said, "he would find some fruit,
and procure some fowls which had escaped."

As we were anxious to proceed, we begged that he would point out the
road we were to take.  This he did, and we bade him farewell.

We had still some hours to ride before nightfall, when we must, if
possible, find shelter.  As far as we could judge, it might take us
three or four days to reach the Patriot camp, and some time must elapse
before relief could be sent to Juan,--and what might not occur in the

Whenever we pulled rein, Mr Laffan stood up and took a survey of the

"It is wise to ascertain what's moving when traversing a country, or in
our course through life," he observed.  "We may thus know where to find
our friends and avoid our foes."

Frequently, however, the view on either side was bounded by woods, the
trees rising to a prodigious size.  Many of them ran up to an amazing
height in a straight line before they began to branch out.  From some of
the fig species, various shoots descended perpendicularly, where they
took root, so that we had no little difficulty in making our way through
these woody columns.  Between the openings we caught sight of the
mountains rising to the skies; and occasionally a stream crossed our
path, or ran foaming along on one side or the other.

We had hoped to reach some friendly village or farmhouse, where we might
rest during the hours of darkness, and obtain better food for our horses
than they could pick up in the forest; but though we pushed on until an
hour after sunset, no glimmering window-light appeared to beckon us
towards it, and we had at last to look about for an open space where we
might bivouac.  We accordingly dismounted, and tethering our animals,
commenced searching for wood to light a fire.  We ran no small risk, as
may be supposed, of rousing up a venomous serpent, or disturbing a boa
during its rest, while at any moment a jaguar or puma might pounce down
upon us, or a bear make its appearance.  We succeeded in obtaining fuel
enough to make a pretty large fire, and by its bright flames we the more
easily obtained a further supply of wood.  We had, however, but scanty
materials for a meal,--some fruit, and a few pieces of Indian corn
bread.  I gave part of my share to poor Lion, who looked up wonderingly
at finding himself put on short commons in a land of plenty.  There was
sufficient grass, however, for our horses to obtain a feed, and as we
had watered them a short time before, they were not so badly off.

Having collected fuel enough to last for the night, we cut a number of
sticks, which we ran into the ground to form a shelter against any
sudden attack of wild animals during the night; and then, pretty well
tired out, lay down to rest.  Every now and then Captain Laffan or I got
up to change the position of our horses, but we dared not leave them far
from the fire, lest some jaguar might spring out and kill one of them,
although it might not be able to carry off its prey.  Great as was our
anxiety, we by turns got some sleep; and at dawn, again mounting, we
rode forward.  The sky, however, was cloudy, and we had greater
difficulty than before in guiding our course.

We rode on for some hours, until the pangs of hunger and the necessity
of resting ourselves made us resolve to stop.  I was fortunate enough to
kill a good-sized monkey, which was grinning down at us from a bough
close above our heads; and we also found as much wild fruit as we
required.  So, having reached the banks of a stream, where we and our
horses could get water, and where there was abundance of grass, we
halted, and quickly had a fire lighted, and part of our monkey roasting
before it.  The other part I had given to Lion, who was quite ready to
eat it uncooked.

We again moved forward, but we both felt very doubtful whether we were
going right.  For my own part, I know but few sensations so disagreeable
as the idea that one has lost one's way.  We were passing along a low
sandy spot, with high bushes and trees on either side, when Captain
Laffan's horse gave a sudden start; and looking down, we saw a small
shiny snake gliding away.  The horse had evidently been bitten, for we
could see the mark of the creature's fangs above the fetlock, and soon
the leg began to swell.  The poor animal proceeded with the greatest
difficulty.  What remedies to apply we neither of us knew, but we had
heard of the existence of a small snake called the aranas, the poison
from whose fangs is so subtle that animals bitten often die within an
hour; and even when remedies are applied, few are ever saved.

"The creature might have bitten either of ourselves," I observed.

"I do not think this species ever attacks man,--though I should not like
to put the matter to the test," answered Captain Laffan.

There was no use in our stopping, especially as there might be other
snakes of the same kind in the neighbourhood.  We therefore, as long as
the poor horse could move, pushed forward; but its pace became more and
more sluggish, as the limb continued to swell.  At length the animal
stopped altogether, and my companion, feeling it tremble, leaped off.
Scarcely had he done so when it came to the ground, and lay struggling
in violent convulsions.  Mr Laffan contrived to take off the saddle
before it was damaged.  In a few minutes, foaming at the mouth, the
horse died, evidently in great pain.

"No use groaning over what cannot be helped," observed the captain.
"You take the saddle, and put it before you; I'll carry the bridle; and
I must try to get another horse as soon as possible."

The delay was serious, but it could not be helped; so we moved along,
Mr Laffan trudging by my side.  I asked him to get up, but he
positively refused to do so.

The belief that we had lost our road was still further depressing.  I
thought especially of the serious consequences which might ensue to Juan
should we not soon obtain the assistance of which we were in search.  At
length my eye fell on a papaw-tree, and what appeared to be a hut just
below it.  Riding on, we saw a Creole peasant-woman walking along and
spinning, evidently near her home.  At first, on seeing us, she seemed
disposed to fly; but on our calling to her and assuring her that we were
friends, she stood still, waiting for us to come up.  Our wants were
soon explained: we should be glad, of a horse, a guide, and especially
of some food.  Food she could give us.  Her husband was out, she said,
but he would soon return, and he would procure a horse, of which there
were several broken-in on the farm; and perhaps he himself would act as
our guide.

Eager to push on, our patience was greatly tried; though we waited and
waited, the woman's husband did not appear.  At last Mr Laffan proposed
going out and catching one of the horses.

"But then you will not know in what direction to ride," observed the
woman.  "You have no right, either, to take the horse without my
husband's leave."

"Might makes right," answered Mr Laffan; "however, we will not act the
part of robbers, but will pay you handsomely for the horse."

This promise satisfied the poor woman.

Fortunately, just as we were setting out the husband returned, and was
evidently well-pleased at the thought of getting a good price for one of
his animals.  He also undertook to guide us, if we could wait until the
next morning at daybreak, and would promise him a reward.  He took good
care, indeed, that we should not start before then, as it was nearly
dark before he returned with the horse.  It was a tolerably good animal,
though rather small, and we willingly promised him the price he asked.
He described to us feelingly the terror he had been in lest the Godos
should visit his farm; though, excepting a few cattle and horses, there
was little they could have obtained.  His wife had been in still greater
fear lest they might carry her husband off as a recruit; but he had kept
in hiding, and she had conveyed food to him from day to day, until the
Spaniards had left the neighbourhood.

We managed to rest with tolerable comfort on heaps of Indian corn
leaves, and slept securely, without the fear of being attacked by
jaguars, bears, or other wild beasts, or being bitten by serpents.

Faithful to his promise, our host appeared the next morning with the
horse for Mr Laffan, while he brought a smaller animal for himself.
His wife insisted on putting up a supply of food for the day, and was
evidently unwilling to receive any reward.  After a good breakfast we
started, thankful to find ourselves on the right road.



We endeavoured to make up for lost time by galloping as fast as our
horses would go, whenever the ground would admit of our doing so.  Every
moment might be of consequence.  Should the Spaniards again attack the
fort, we knew too well that our friends would have a hard matter to hold
it.  Our guide frequently exclaimed that we should knock up our steeds,
or bring them to the ground.

"Never fear, my friend," said Mr Laffan; "if we do, we must pick
ourselves up again."

"But your bones, senors, your bones; you will break them or your necks,"
murmured our guide.

"Never mind--we must do the best we can; you don't know what we
Englishmen are made of," said Mr Laffan.

"But I may break my neck, and then what will become of my poor
Margarida?" cried our guide.

"We will do our best to console her, and find her another husband.  On,
on!" cried Mr Laffan.

In vain were all the expostulations of our guide.  The dominie lashed
his little steed, and up hill and down dale we kept on.  Probably Tomaso
would have left us to pursue our course alone and find our own way, had
not my friend wisely kept back a portion of the price of the horse, lest
such a trick might be played us.  At last Tomaso pointed out what he
called the highroad, and assured us that by keeping straight on we
should in time reach the Patriot camp.  How far off it was, however, he
did not say.  He now begged hard for the sum we owed him.

"Here it is, my friend; you have well earned it, I own," said Mr
Laffan, handing him the amount.

He was profuse in his expressions of gratitude.  "A fortunate journey to
you, caballeros; and may the Patriot cause prove triumphant," he added,
as, making a low bow, he turned his horse's head and rode back the way
we had come.

We had not got far when we saw a horseman galloping in hot haste towards
us; by his dress and accoutrements we knew him to be an officer.  As he
got nearer I recognised him to be Captain Lopez.  He pulled up, and
began to address us before he recognised either of us.

"Can you tell me, caballeros, if a division of the Spanish forces is
stationed anywhere in the neighbourhood?  I am told that such is the

"And what object, Captain Lopez, have you for wishing to know where to
find the Spanish forces?" asked Captain Laffan, looking sternly at him.
"Surely you are not going to desert to them!"

Captain Lopez now recognised us, and looked very much confused.  He

"No; desert to them, no!  I am not a deserter, but I wish to ascertain
their whereabouts, that the Patriots, who are advancing in this
direction, may be prepared to encounter them."

Captain Laffan looked incredulous, but simply asked--

"Whereabouts are we likely to find the Patriots, as we wish to join them
without delay, and possibly can give them the information you are going
to obtain?"

I remarked that he said nothing about Juan, or that our object was to
bring him assistance.  Captain Lopez, however, inquired where Juan's
troop had gone, observing that it was supposed he had joined Bolivar.
Whether he really knew the true state of the case, I could not tell.

Captain Laffan was as reticent as at first.  "Now, Captain Lopez, we
must not delay; we possess all the information you wish to gain, and I
would advise you to turn back with us, or you may chance to fall into
the hands of the enemy."

In answer to this remark Captain Lopez made several excuses, and at last
said, "I'll ride on for a short distance, and then follow you back.
Farewell, senors, for a short time;" and he continued his course in the
direction he was before going.

"The scoundrel!" exclaimed Captain Laffan as we galloped on; "I am very
sure that he is on no good errand.  We should have served the cause by
shooting him."

We had very little time to make remarks, as we had generally to ride one
before the other, but our suspicions of the object Captain Lopez had in
view made it more important than ever that we should reach the Patriots
without delay, and hurry them on to the succour of Don Juan and his hard
pressed garrison.

Another night arrived, and we were still unable to ascertain how far off
the Patriots were encamped.  Had our horses been able to move, we
should, in spite of the dangers of the road, have pushed on in the dark.
There was just light enough for us to discover a deserted hut.  At the
back was a garden overgrown with grass, into which we turned our horses.
A well in one corner supplied them with water, and we were sure that
they would not wish to stray; while the thick hedge and trees which
surrounded the garden concealed them from the view of any one passing.
We ourselves were not likely to be discovered unless by a person
entering the hut.  The food with which our good hostess Margarida had
supplied us afforded a tolerable supper, with something over for
breakfast.  We could not doubt but that early the next day we should
fall in with the Patriots.

Scarcely yet persuaded that Captain Lopez was acting treacherously, as
Captain Laffan supposed, I half expected to see him return.

"If he does, it will be with a party of the enemy," said my companion,
"and we shall be made prisoners, unless we get due notice and can gallop

This idea made us more wakeful than we should otherwise have been, for
Lion doing duty as sentry was sufficient protection.  The morning,
however, came, and no enemy appeared.  I shared my portion of the
remaining stock of food with Lion, who had been for some time on short
commons, as vegetable diet did not suit his constitution.

We had gone some distance when, as we were stopping to water our horses
at a stream, my ear caught the tramp of feet.

"There is a large body of infantry coming along the road," I exclaimed;
"I trust that they may be friends, or we shall have to cut across the
country to avoid them."

Captain Laffan listened, and was satisfied that I was right.

"We must approach cautiously," he said, "and be prepared to turn to the
right-about if they should prove to be enemies."

We instantly mounted and rode on, and before long came in sight of the

"They are Patriots, I am sure, from their dress, and the flags they
carry," said Captain Laffan.

He was right.  As we got nearer a mounted officer rode forward.  To my
infinite satisfaction I saw that he was Uncle Richard; while Antonio
came close behind him, dressed as an officer.

"Hurrah! rejoiced to see you, Duncan; and you too, Captain Laffan,"
exclaimed Uncle Richard as he recognised us.  "Where do you come from?
Tell me all about it as we ride along; you will accompany me, for we
shall soon halt to let the men dine, and you can then get what food you

We briefly told him the object of our journey.

"I knew that Don Juan was ordered to hold the fort, but I little
supposed that he was so hard pressed.  However, I hope we shall be in
time to relieve him.  You see these fine fellows?" and he pointed to the
men.  "I have been busy for some months, while you were away, raising
and drilling them; and though I cannot say much for the uniformity of
their appearance, I am pretty sure that, if well led--as I flatter
myself they will be--they will do good service when we meet the enemy.
I have had some difficulty in getting efficient officers, but I chose
the best men I could find, independent of all other considerations.  I
have a Black, and two pure-blooded Indians, while the rest are Creoles.
I found your former servant Antonio so intelligent and brave a fellow,
that I gave him a company."

"I am delighted to hear it," I answered.  "In a noble cause like ours
there should be but one consideration,--to find the best men for every
post; and if they have once been slaves, they are more likely to fight
for freedom."

Our great object now was to march forward and attack the Spaniards
before they could capture the fort.  That we should come up with the
enemy in time, I could not help thinking, was very uncertain.  Our men,
however, were well able to advance as rapidly as any troops could move.
Except their muskets and powder, they were unencumbered with any
accoutrements, or indeed with any superfluous clothing.  They required
but little food, and that of the coarsest description.  Accustomed to
the use of firearms from their boyhood, they had quickly been turned
into efficient soldiers.  We had intelligent guides, also, who knew the
country, and were able to point out the best paths for our advance.

A short time only was allowed for the men to take their dinner, after
which we marched on again until nightfall.  At first it seemed somewhat
strange to find myself seated round our camp-fire with Antonio, and to
hear him addressed as "Captain;" but I did not allude to our former
relative positions.  In a short time, however, as he bore his honours
well, and behaved in a thoroughly officer-like way, this feeling wore
off, and it seemed quite natural to speak to him as an equal.  He was
only one of many who at that period rose from the ranks.  One of the
bravest generals in the Patriot army had been a slave.  Indeed, General
Paez had been a herd-boy, and Arismendez a fisherman.  Bolivar was one
of the few Patriot leaders of high family, for the Spaniards had put to
death the larger number of the men of influence and Liberal principles,
before the struggle for liberty began.

The next morning we recommenced the march two hours before daylight,
when the men appeared fresh and in good spirits.  We had again advanced
some distance after our noonday halt when we came to a rapid river,
running between high cliffs, over which, we had learned from our guides,
a strong wooden bridge had been thrown.  Had it not been for this bridge
the passage of the river would have cost us great delay, as we should
have had to descend by narrow pathways to the bottom of the cliffs, then
to throw a pontoon across, and ascend on the other side.  In the face of
an enemy this would have been impossible.

I had ridden forward, curious to examine the structure of the bridge of
which our guides had spoken.  I found that strong timbers had been fixed
on the ledges in the cliffs projecting over the stream, serving to
support a platform; from this platform others were pushed forward on
either side, the inner ends lashed to the first platform, while a centre
one joined the two.  Railings ran along on either side of this ingenious
structure, which had a roof supported on poles--the object apparently
being to prevent the wood-work from rotting with the wet.

I had got a short distance along the bridge, when I caught sight of a
body of men coming over the ridge of a hill scarcely a mile off.
Another look convinced me that they were Spanish troops; while the
advance-guard of our force was nearly as far off on the other side.  I
waited for a moment longer, to judge whether, by the movements of the
Spaniards, the latter had been seen; but I judged that they were
concealed by the trees and rocks which lay between thorn, while they on
their part had not discovered the enemy.  The possession of the bridge
was of the greatest importance, and I knew that the Spaniards, so soon
as they should discover the Patriots, would make a rush down the hill to
gain it.  Partly hid as I was by the roof and railings of the bridge, I
hoped that I had not been seen.  To avoid the risk of being discovered,
therefore, I slipped off my horse, and turning its head led it back
until I got under shelter of some trees; when, mounting, I galloped as
hard as I could until I met Uncle Richard, who instantly gave the word
to advance at the double.

The Spaniards, who were already descending the hill, rushed down with
headlong speed on discovering us, hoping to gain the bridge before our
party had secured it.  We at once dashed across to hold it against the
Spanish advance-guard, which had nearly reached it.  As the enemy saw us
crossing they opened a hot fire, but, the distance being considerable,
their bullets did no damage, and we were soon across without a casualty.
Directly afterwards the head of our column appeared, and impetuously
charged along the bridge.  They came not a bit too soon, for already we
were engaged with those of the Spaniards who had advanced ahead of their
companions, whose numbers were every moment increasing, and who pressed
us fearfully hard.  In the meantime the Spanish troops, as they
descended the hill, opened fire on our men,--those who were waiting to
cross replying to it from the other side.

As I looked up the hill I feared, from the numbers descending, that we
should be shot down before a sufficient number of the Patriots could
cross to hold their own until our main body had got over.  Our men,
however, pressed forward and formed rapidly.  In another minute we had
secured our ground, and driven back the enemy a dozen yards or more,
affording sufficient space for the main body to form up as they crossed.
Several had been shot, and had fallen over into the torrent, which was
already dyed with blood.

The order was now given to charge.  The Spaniards, in their eagerness to
reach the bridge, had been thrown into disorder as they descended the
hill.  Our left wheeled, turned their flank, and drove them down towards
the river; while our right stood its ground.  The contest was short, but
sharp.  In the course of a few minutes, it seemed, the larger number of
the Spaniards were hurled over the cliffs; while the rest, in utter
confusion, attempted to retreat up the hill, but were followed by our
nimble-footed men, and cut down or bayoneted.

No victory could have been more complete.  Not a Spaniard who was taken
was allowed to live.  Of the whole force, numbering some five or six
hundred men, those only escaped who contrived to hide themselves in
ditches or behind bushes or rocks, or whose activity enabled them to
keep ahead of their pursuers.  Our chief casualties had occurred while
our men were crossing the bridge, but, in all, we had lost comparatively

The summit of the hill gained, we halted to reform our troops, and then
once more advanced.  Whether or not the Spaniards we had defeated were
those who had attacked the fort, we could not tell, as not a prisoner
had been saved.  In vain did Uncle Richard call to his followers to
spare the lives of those who yielded; his orders were not listened to.
The men only followed the custom of that savage warfare, and the example
of the Spaniards, upon whom they thus fearfully retaliated.

Once more we advanced.  Another day passed; and it was late on the next
before we reached the neighbourhood of the fort.  I looked out eagerly
to ascertain whether the besiegers were still before it, but as yet not
a sign could I discover of the enemy.  The hamlet occupied by the
Spaniards appeared to be deserted.  I now felt convinced that the body
we had defeated was part of the force which had been besieging the fort,
while the remainder had probably marched in an opposite direction.  We
had seen nothing of Captain Lopez, however, and he certainly was not
with those Spaniards whom we had encountered.

Now came the question, What was the fate of the garrison?  Had they been
able to hold out until the Spaniards, growing weary of the attempt, had
given it up? or had the fort been successfully assaulted, and its
defenders cut to pieces?  If so, the Spaniards must now have possession,
and it would be our turn to attack them, and to attempt its recapture.
This would not be so difficult a task to us as it had proved to the
Spaniards, as Captain Laffan and I knew every point about it, and every
spot from whence it was assailable.

The first thing to be done, however, was to make a reconnaissance; and
Captain Laffan and I rode on for this purpose.  With our glasses we saw
from a distance that no flag was flying; and as we got nearer we
discovered that the flagstaff itself was broken short off, and that the
tower was fearfully shattered, while parts of the stockades were thrown
down, and the whole fort seemed in the most dilapidated condition.

"A bad omen, that," observed my companion; "but, at the same time, it
may have been shot through, and a puff of wind have blown it down."

My heart began to sink, as, still further lessening our distance, we
could see no one moving in the fort.  It appeared to be deserted.  As
this, however, might not be the case--for the garrison might possibly be
keeping concealed--we advanced cautiously, halting again just out of
musket-shot.  We waited for some time, but not a moving object could we
discern.  By this time we had been joined by several men on foot.
Captain Laffan ordered them to creep forward and fire, thinking that the
salute might elicit a reply should an enemy be holding the fort.  As the
report went echoing among the rocks, a whole flight of galenachas winged
their flight to the summit of the neighbouring cliffs, whence they could
watch an opportunity of again descending to finish their horrible
banquet.  We knew now, to a certainty, that no living beings occupied
the fort.  What had been the fate of our friends?

Eager to ascertain the worst, we rode forward, and, fording the stream,
made our way over a mass of ruins which filled the ditch, into the
interior.  The scene which presented itself told a sad tale.  There lay,
round the tower, the bodies of friends and foes in equal numbers, with
limbs torn, clothing burnt, and countenances blackened.  With a
sickening heart I searched for one form, if it could be distinguished
from the other disfigured remains of humanity.  It was not long before I
recognised the uniform my brave friend had worn.  He was lying directly
under the wall, while one hand still grasped the jewelled sword I had
seen Dona Dolores gird to his side.  Yes, it was he, my gallant friend!
I knew him by his features, though scorched and blackened and fearfully
changed, and by a ring he had worn, as well as by the watch in his

Captain Laffan found me kneeling by the side of my dead friend, unable
to restrain my grief.

"It is the fortune of war, Duncan.  A more gallant fellow never
breathed; and he died a noble death--in discharge of his duty," said my
late dominie.  "Don't give way, my boy; he did not die in vain."

"But Dona Dolores!"  I exclaimed; "her heart will break when she hears
of it."

"It's of sterner stuff than that, I've a notion.  But come, we must see
at once about giving him a soldier's grave while there is yet time, for
we may soon have other work to do."

Taking my dead friend's sword, and his ring and watch, that I might give
them to Dona Dolores, I rose from the ground.

In a short time Captain Antonio came up with the advance-guard.  On
counting the slain, we found that they numbered more than half the
garrison.  The rest might possibly have cut their way out; if not, they
must have been taken prisoners, and, to a certainty, afterwards shot.  A
still greater number of Spaniards had been destroyed.  All that we could
suppose was, that Juan, when he found that successful resistance was
impossible, had blown up the tower, and perished with such of the
assailants as had made good their entrance.

A grave was dug for Juan beneath a wide-spreading tree, some little way
up the valley.  We there laid him to rest; and a volley having been
fired over his remains, a heap of unhewn rocks was piled up above them
to serve as the young Patriot's tomb.

"When our cause is triumphant, and peace returns, I will erect a marble
monument to his memory," I said.  And I kept my word.

Our men, in order to save themselves trouble, cast the remainder of the
bodies into the river,--caring very little for thus horribly polluting
the pure water.  I had before thought war a terrible thing, but the
scenes I had lately witnessed impressed me still more forcibly with a
horror of its fearful results.  What hundreds--what thousands, I might
say--of human beings had perished miserably within the last few months!
How many more, too, were doomed to die!  Then I thought of the towns and
villages committed to the flames; the corn-fields, the orchards, and
gardens destroyed; and, more than all, of the widows and orphans who,
while bewailing the loss of those they loved, their protectors and
bread-winners, were doomed to struggle on in poverty; and the numberless
families, formerly in affluence, now reduced to absolute beggary.  Such
was the state of my native land.  And yet no one complained--all were
ready to struggle on in the cause of Liberty; blaming, not those who had
risen to fight for freedom, but the tyranny of their oppressors as the
cause of all they endured.

While we were encamped at a neighbouring hamlet, which afforded
sufficient means for defence, and enabled us to watch the fort, a
despatch arrived for Juan, ordering him to evacuate it.  Alas! had it
come sooner, he and his companions might have preserved their lives, as
I believe he would have succeeded, had he made the attempt, in cutting
his way through the enemy; but, influenced by a stern sense of duty, he
had held it after all hope of successfully defending it had gone.  This
added greatly to my grief at his loss.

General Bolivar had heard of the corps Uncle Richard had raised, and now
sent forward requesting him to join his army without delay.  By forced
marches across the mountains, in which both officers and men suffered
not a little, we reached the general's camp, and I had the honour of
being introduced to him.  I little expected to see so young a man.  In
person he was small, but well-made and muscular, and able to go through
astonishing exertion--frequently marching on foot over mountains and
plains without exhibiting the slightest fatigue.  His eyes were dark,
large, and full of fire and penetration, denoting wonderful energy of
mind and greatness of soul.  His nose was aquiline and well-formed, his
face rather long, and his complexion somewhat sallow.  As Uncle Richard
and I had the honour of being invited to his table, I had an opportunity
of seeing him in his social moments.  He was lively in his manner, full
of anecdote and conversation; and it was said that, like Buonaparte, he
possessed the power of reading at once a man's character, and placing
him in a position where his talents and abilities would prove useful to
his country.  He was also thoroughly disinterested, and so little regard
did he pay to himself under the most severe privations, that he was
always ready to share what he possessed with his companions-in-arms, to
his last cigar or his last shirt.  He was always cool, and invariably
displayed the most undaunted courage.  He was, to be sure, hasty in his
temper, and often made use of intemperate expressions, abusing in no
measured manner those who had annoyed him; but, at the same time, he was
ever ready to make atonement to the person whose feelings might have
been undeservedly wounded.  In his bosom revenge was never harboured,
and it was owing entirely to the atrocities committed by the Spaniards
on the Patriots that he was induced to carry on against them that
fearful war of extermination which so long raged throughout the country.
Bolivar might not have been a hero to his own valet, but by those who
truly understand heroic qualities he should be deservedly placed on a
high niche in the temple of Fame.  I may add that he was temperate in
his diet, drank but a very moderate quantity of wine, never touched
spirits, and that he seldom smoked.  Generally he was the last to retire
to rest, and the first to rise.

Soon after joining the army, to my surprise I met Lopez, now raised to
the rank of colonel.  He appeared to be intimate with many of the
officers, but kept aloof from Captain Laffan and me, as well as from
Uncle Richard, whom I should properly designate as Colonel Duffield.

We had marched forward until we heard that Murillo, with a large force,
was in the neighbourhood.

One night Captain Laffan and I had been invited to dine with several
English officers, and our host told us that he expected Colonel Lopez.
However, when the dinner-hour arrived Colonel Lopez did not appear.  A
message was despatched to his quarters, but he was nowhere to be found.

"It's my belief," exclaimed Captain Laffan, "that the fellow has
deserted!  You will see that I am right; he was intending to do so when
we met him."

Dinner over, we again retired to our quarters, and all was stillness in
the camp.  As I wished to take a few turns to enjoy the cool night air,
I accompanied one of Bolivar's aides-de-camp who was about to visit the
outposts, when we met a small body of troops marching towards
headquarters.  The officer in command gave the countersign, and they
were allowed to proceed.  Just then, who should we meet but Colonel
Lopez, who informed my companion that he had some news of importance to
communicate to General Bolivar respecting an intended movement of the
enemy which he had just obtained from a deserter, and requested that he
might be conducted to the general's tent.

"If you will remain here, I will immediately acquaint the general with
what you say, and beg that you may be admitted," was the answer.

I returned with the aide-de-camp, but left him near Bolivar's tent to
deliver the message.  I had not got many yards off, however, when I
heard a volley of musketry fired close to me, and directly, as it
seemed, at the tent.  An instant afterwards I saw a party of men, who
must have followed close upon us, disappearing in the darkness.

"To arms!--to arms! the enemy are upon us!" was the cry, and soon
general confusion ensued.  The troops got under arms, and some fired in
the direction taken by the fugitives, but in the darkness it was
impossible to see whether any were hit.  The fear was that the general
must have been killed, and every one was in dismay until he himself rode
round, quieting the alarm of the men.  He had fortunately quitted his
tent a few minutes previously, and was not many yards off when the
firing took place.  On examining his cot, it was found that three or
four bullets had passed right through it, so that he must have been
killed, or severely wounded, had he not providentially left his tent.

Few in the camp slept that night.  A treacherous attempt had evidently
been made to assassinate our general.  When morning came we looked out
in the direction of the enemy's camp.  On the ground lay two bodies, and
a party was sent out to bring them in.  One of them was that of Colonel
Lopez; and on his person was discovered a paper proposing a plan to
Murillo for penetrating the camp with a party of Spaniards disguised as
Patriots, and putting Bolivar to death.  It was countersigned as
approved of by the Spanish general.  Such, then, was the fate of the
rejected suitor of Dona Dolores.

I have not space to describe the several engagements which followed, but
Colonel Duffield and Captain Laffan, who soon became a major, gained the
credit they deserved for their gallantry on numerous occasions, and I
had the satisfaction of being praised by Bolivar himself.  However, the
severe life we led at length affected both Major Laffan and me, and
Colonel Duffield, in whose corps we served, insisted that we should
return home to obtain the quiet and rest we required.  The road was now
open to Popayan, and we were able to travel with a small escort of
invalids and wounded men, who, like ourselves, were unfit for service,
and were anxious to return home.

With feelings of considerable anxiety we rode up to my father's house,
for what might not have happened during our absence we could not tell.
Great, therefore, was my joy when we were greeted at the entrance by my
mother, Dona Maria, Rosa, and jolly little Hugh, who all threw their
arms about my neck at once, and then bestowed a similar affectionate
greeting on the major--who declared, as tears streamed down his cheeks,
that it gave him as much joy to see them all well, as it had to beat the
Spaniards in the last battle we had fought; while Lion, who had followed
at my heels, was next saluted in nearly the same fashion, while he
barked, yelped, and leaped about, evidently delighted to get home.  Dona
Maria looked very pale, and was evidently anxious about Uncle Richard,
but we were able to give a very favourable account of him.  Like many
other wives, she had learned to endure her anxiety.

My father was out, but he soon returned, and expressed his satisfaction
at the high encomiums which had been bestowed upon me by Colonel
Duffield, and even by Bolivar himself.

"I have just come from visiting Dona Dolores," he said.  "She has heard
the report of Don Juan's death, but will not believe it; and I am afraid
that it must be your painful task, Duncan, to convince her."

As soon as I could unpack the sword and the other articles which I had
carefully preserved, I returned with my father to the house of the
friend with whom she was staying.  On hearing that I had come, she
desired to see me alone.  I felt more nervous than I had ever done in my
life before, supposing that she would give way to her sorrow, and that
it would be incumbent on me to endeavour to console her, impossible as
that might be.  What to say, indeed, I knew not.

I found her dressed in mourning for her father, and looking very pale.
She was seated, but she rose when I entered, and advancing towards me,
took my hand.  Her eye fell on the sword, then on the ring on my finger.

"I know what you have to tell me, Duncan," she said in a deep-toned
voice, but without a falter; "he died as I would have had him,--fighting
bravely for the freedom of his country--for the same cause to which I
dedicated my life.  Give me that weapon: I would present it to you, but
I must use it myself; not to avenge his death, but to take his place and
wield it against the foes of Freedom.  That ring--give it me; he sends
it as a farewell token."  She placed it on her finger.  "Now, tell me
the particulars."

I endeavoured to describe the circumstances of Juan's death, and how he
had held the fort until all hope had gone.

She had remained standing during the time of our interview.

"Farewell, Duncan," she said at last.  "I must prepare for a sterner
life than I have hitherto led.  As yet it has been one suited to a
delicate creature like Dona Paula Salabariata--a mere scribe,
endeavouring to incite others to do the task I should undertake myself."

I took my leave of Dona Dolores; and the next morning we heard that,
attended by two servants, she had set out, habited in half-military
costume, for the army.  Some time passed before we heard of her again.
She had joined a regiment, and taken part in every action.  She seemed
to bear a charmed life, too, for, although always in the thickest of the
fight, the bullets passed her harmlessly by.

Years have rolled on since then, and the cause of Liberty has triumphed.
When peace was obtained, I married my so-called cousin, the fair-haired
Rosa; and my dear little sister became the wife of a gallant English
officer who settled in the country.

I have described these scenes of warfare, not for the sake of
encouraging a love of fighting, but for a very contrary object; and from
the horrors I witnessed during that period, I am convinced that War is
the greatest curse that can afflict a country, and I earnestly pray that
the reign of Peace may soon commence on earth.

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translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.